Workshop 1 – Understanding My Aging

Objectives

Aging is, for each of us, a work in progress. During this session, participants will have the opportunity to:

  • determine for themselves which topics need their attention regarding their own aging
  • commit to taking action on at least two of those topics

Resources

Suggested Booklist

diana_athill

Alive, Alive Oh! (2004) by Diana Athill

An esteemed editor, Athill has also won awards for her honest, forthright and funny take on aging and life. In this memoir, published when she was 98, Athill has included the story of her transition to a “home for old people.”

the_book_of_eve

The Book of Eve (1973) by Constance Beresford-Howe

Set in Montreal, this novel tells a story of later-life liberation – its joys and its costs. One morning after breakfast, with her pension cheque and a few possessions in hand, 65-year-old Eve Carroll makes the decision to leave her husband of 40 years and indeed her life as she has known it.

bolder

The Virtues of Aging (1998) by Jimmy Carter

The former American president explains his book’s title this way: “...the virtues of aging include both the blessings that come to us as we grow older and what we have to offer that might be beneficial to others.”

gift_of_years

The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully (2008) by Joan Chittister

A collection of Chittister’s short pieces, each looks at one aspect of aging, embracing “older age as a natural part of life that is both active and contemplative, productive and reflective, and deeply rewarding.”

bolder

Bolder: Making the Most of Our Longer Lives (2018) by Carl Honoré

The author of In Praise of Slow and a founder of the slow movement, Honoré now examines his own aging and that of the many others he meets who are, in his view, redefining aging.

no_time_to_spare

No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters (2017) by Ursula K. Le Guin

Le Guin was an influential fantasy and science fiction writer, creating imaginary worlds over many decades. In her last years she became a blogger, using her blog as a forum for her witty and compassionate voice. Both social critic and storyteller, Le Guin’s book presents the best of her online writing.

ninety_years_wise

Ninety Years Wise (2004) by Doris McCarthy

Artist McCarthy, summering at her cottage on Georgian Bay, responds to all those who ask for her secret. How are you so old yet so well? Happy? Productive? She insists there is no secret and instead invites the reader to learn of “the elements and attitudes that have added up to my zest for life and my joy in it.”

in_my_minds_eye

In My Mind’s Eye (2018) by Jan Morris

After many decades as a highly-praised travel writer and now in her 90s, Morris has decided to keep a diary for the first time. The result is described as warm and insightful as well as “wickedly hilarious.”

gratitude

Gratitude (2013, 2015) by Oliver Sacks

Sacks was a medical scientist and clinician who lived life large. His eloquent and fearless writing about humanity, the uniqueness of all individuals, and his reflections on his own life provide treasured insight.

at_seventy

At Seventy (1984) by May Sarton

Sarton referred to her journals as “sonatas.” This one-year collection began on the occasion of her 70th birthday. “Why is it good to be old?” she was once asked. “Because I am more myself than I have ever been.

being_mortal

What Are Old People For? (2004) by William H. Thomas

Geriatrician and founder of the Eden Alternative, Thomas has written an accessible book that explores in detail the purpose for longevity and elderhood.

Available from Amazon

being_mortal

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (2014) by Atul Gawande

Gawande presents eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family. Riveting, honest, and humane, Being Mortal shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life – all the way to the very end.

did_you_just_call_me_old_lady

Did You Just Call Me Old Lady? A Ninety-Year-Old Tells Why Aging Is Positive (2016) by Lillian Zimmerman 

An upbeat look at aging and the impacts of Canada’s increasingly aged population through the eyes of a ninety-year-old woman. Lillian Zimmerman gracefully, and often humourously, argues that long-livers are able to live fulfilling lives and make valuable contributions to society.

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