Opening up the large book, was impressed right off the bat with how it leaves plenty of space in the margins for jotting notes – priceless! Because of the generous margins it offers for jotting notes in the margins, it’s almost over-sized. Praise be!
I am only up to page 121, but had to make The Ageless Way my first official book bravo. Oh, to have the financial wherewithal to put a copy in the hands of every 25-year old!
Karen describes herself as a “visionary trailblazer and game-changer” ~ my description is force of nature. She is larger than life, ebullient yet grounded, a major force in rocking staid stodgy stultifying ideas of “aging” to their out-dated roots, ripping them out, replanting bold & bodacious ways of moving along the age spectrum. What joy for me that we met & talked at last year’s Positive Aging conference, that we’ve stayed in touch (however lightly) since.
It’s no joke to say that Karen has A LOT of Forrest Gump in her. She has a knack for being present at mega paradigm-shifting moments. It is a thrill to see how all she is, all she has developed & nurtured throughout her life, is making such a magnificent difference in the lives of all of us because we’re ALL aging upward!
Confession: I set this book aside on first reading, weirded out that she put 40+ younguns in the same category of Boomers. Now, a third of the way in, I deeply appreciate that she includes midlife. I’d start even earlier!
How to describe The Ageless Way? At times it feels like Karen is sitting with me, sharing a cuppa, telling me tales from her decades of work as a world shaker, trailblazing firecracker! At others, it feels like I’m in the best sort of seminar. Or having a literary version of a Vulcan mind meld. And then there’s the task master, setting out at each chapter’s close “The Ageless Way Reflections” – – questions & exercises designed to help us along our own Ageless Way.
Throughout what I’ve read have been echoes of women & men who’ve graced my life from early childhood, who helped protect me from those staid stodgy stultifying concepts of aging upward that held so many others down. I grew up with the image of women as amazing agents of change. First & foremost – my mother.
While most other girls my age had mothers who silently telegraphed the message that getting their MRS was the most important thing they could do, mine was telling about her dream of being a steward on a great ship, a dream she pursued in her early twenties, learning that to get the position, you had to have experience & the only way to get experience was to have the position. She loved her job in the Book Section at Strawbridge & Clothier, delighted in sharing stories about the different famous authors she met, one of whom – Marguerite de Angeli – would become a dear friend of the family in later years.
As she grew upward, Mom modeled the best of best practices, sharing with youngers of all ages that as we grow older, the concepts we held of being, time & relationships ar liberated. “My feet drag somewhat and I move a lot more slowly than I did, but most days my spirit soars, making itself felt more and more.”
How Mom would have smiled, reading, “This new sense of freedom to stand in her own shoes, to raise her voice” and agreed 100% that “it brings with it a childlike energy – one of spontaneity, play, laughter & creativity.”
It was from Mom & her circle of friends that I first learned that younger folk might like to think they know it all, but it takes scores of years – not mere decades – to understand, that there is a vast chasm between intelligence & wisdom.
The Ageless Way is a book that could only have been written by someone who remembers life in the dark past – 40+ years ago – when tick tocking past 65 seemed to many a fate possibly worst than death. I marvel at all she has seen, at the changes SHE has helped bring about that brought us to this place, this moment where astonishing wonders reach out & touch everyone on every spot along the age spectrum.
Young people need this book because they long to hear voices like Oliver Sacks, quoted by Karen, talking about the 80s being one of the most enjoyable decades of his father’s life, how the older man felt “not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life & perspective.” Younger people NEED to hear that, whether they are in their late teens, thirty-something, or making their way through the midlife maze.
“Being Ageless means, in part, developing this ability to step outside our lives, to step outside time, and see the world & life as it really is. To go beyond simple knowledge & take that step into knowing. To feel in our bones what time really is & to appreciate both the transcience & the beauty that is Ageless.” – – Thanks, Karen ~ I needed that.
So do we all. Oh, to be able to give A) this wondrous book to everyone post-high school member of my circle of loved ones, along with B) the time to read it, then share their own impressions. Maybe take a month or more to discuss it. To talk about older role models it brings to mind, the qualities we most appreciate in them, how what they lived connect to what Karen writes.
The Ageless Way & Karen are to be savored like a fine aged scotch or fine vintage port – slowly, with attention to the layered flavors, with awareness & awe.