I do NOT believe the following statement to be an over-generalization: at some point in ALL our lives we begin to contemplate the process of aging and the mystery surrounding death. When that time comes, you couldn’t ask for a better companion than Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle’s book, AGING WITH WISDOM. Probably why it’s won awards. Awarded five stars on Goodreads.
This book is a gentle, brief (under 200 pages), eminently readable, and inspiring collection of reflections, gathered stories, and wise teachings. Trained as a health professional at Harvard Medical School, and a noted pioneer in the field of mind-body medicine, Hoblitzelle’s life work has been integrating meditation, yoga, and cognitive therapy into Western medical practices. She was also caregiver to both her mother and husband, after each was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. THAT both explains her interest in this topic and gives her great credibility in my book.
As Hoblitzelle bemoans, ours is not a society that generally honors the process of aging and considers it socially awkward to discuss death. But this book takes on both, head-on. She reclaims and reframes the wisdom of older people and validates their hard-won knowledge and understanding. They are, she believes, living the most challenging and courageous part of their lives, RIGHT NOW!
She also shares her own collection of stories and interactions with wise elders for us all to consider. She presents inspiring anecdotes about the dying that offer hope and comfort. And she includes the wisdom of six “wayshowers” who have helped her gain a better understanding of and comfort with the final years of life.
If you are a senior now, this book will expand your outlook in a positive way. If not, when your own time comes, remember this book. It’s the kind of book you’ll revisit frequently as time passes.
More about the author, Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle.