Book Review: I Like Being Old, A Guide to Making the Most of Aging
by Elinor Nuxoll
I am writing this on January 16th, 2010, the day before my 89th birthday. I like to read books by older authors (older than me) who share their wisdom.
In fact, I am now reading "The Book of Everyday Wisdom" by the Delany Sisters. They are centenarians - 103 and 105 years old.
But - on to the book review! ** Click on either book to learn more at Amazon.com ** I Like Being Old: A Guide to Making the Most of Aging
by K. Eileen Allen in collaboration with Judith R. Starbuck
The author at 90 has been enjoying such a happy, lively old age, her friends said she should write about her experience. Actually a book had been simmering on the back burner of her mind since she was in her sixties.
At that time she was involved with the Select
Committee of Aging in Washington D.C. That's when
she started to look beyond her professional focus on child development to think about old age development.
If she wrote a book at that time, it would be purely theoretical. Now she could write from her own experience.
However, she was now dealing with the typical challenges of aging but also with severely limited vision and hearing. She was blind from macular degeneration, unable to read and write, She had only shadowy peripheral vision, and she had tried several hearing aids with limited success in hearing.
In her early eighties she decided to write the book. She and Judith Starbuck had been working together on editorial projects and Judith was interested in working with her. Starbuck wrote the introduction to the book and to each of the three sections. She helped Eileen clarify her thoughts and balance her wisdom and humor.
In each section, the author asks a question, then seeks the answers. In Section One she asks, "How can I be happy with all the challenges I have to face?" She takes on these challenges of adapting to losses of vision, hearing and mobility. She discovers we are all responsible for our own happiness, so she chose to be happy. After each new loss, she reinvented herself.
In Section Two she asks, "How can I survive without my car, my own home, my independence? Giving up her car, making the move to a retirement home and living independently at a time when her need for help was growing were all new challenges to be met. She was innovative in learning how to solve problems or how to find family or friends to help with various tasks. She found staying fit required more than just exercise. She learned to nurture body, mind, spirit and relationships.
In Section Three she described the joys and pleasures of savoring life in the slow lane. Adjusting to life in an independent retirement center, she learned to call it home.
She continued her 3-mile walks around the nearby lake by using a walker. She stayed connected to family, friends and community with a variety of activities.
Finally, she is thinking about end-of-life planning, and the kind of legacy she hopes to leave. Loved ones have showed her the way.
She has lost friends, and her husband of 54 years died of cancer.
Along the way she learned to meditate. When she could no longer read, she memorized the poetry that others read to her. When she couldn't see the wonders of nature, she imagined them. She has always believed in choosing to be happy, being responsible for her own happiness.
Readers of any age can be inspired by the wisdom of this 90-year-old author.