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An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of  400 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger.  Enjoy ARCs and new releases. 

 

 

 

Old Age: A Beginner's Guide

Old Age: A Beginner's Guide - Michael E. Kinsley
A Beginner's Guide
ISBN: 9781101903766
Publisher: Crown 
Publication Date: 4/26/2016 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
 
A special thank you to Crown and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Michael Kinsley writes about his take on aging—OLD AGE: A Beginner's Guide, an exit strategy for Boomers, born between 1946-1964, entering life’s last chapter. Remembered for being ambitious and competitive? The largest age cohort in American history. Death, illness, and time. How will you use your time?

Kinsley (65) writes honestly about his own illness, early-onset Parkinson’s and the three ways to deal with devastating news: acceptance, confrontation, or denial.

Acceptance is an aspiration, not a strategy. Confrontation means putting the disease at the center of your life; learning as much as you can about it, vigorously exploring alternative therapies, campaigning for more research funds, organization community events. Denial, on the hand, means letting the disease affect your day to day life, as little as possible. Pretending as best you can that you do not have it.

We were born thinking we will live forever. Then death comes an intermittent reality, as grandparents and parents die, and the tragedy of some kind removes one or two from our own age cohort. It is unavoidable.

The last boomer competition is not just about how long you live. It is also about how you die. Young, old, quick, painless, lingering, suicide, cancer, bedridden, chronic disease, dignity or not, Alzheimer’s, heart attack, accidental, Dementia, mentally sound, or lost marbles? Two forms of competition in the boomer death-style Olympics: Dying last, dying lucid. You can go for longevity, but unless you’re extremely lucky, you won’t win both games.

Boomers have survived it all! We are ready to enjoy life now---after spending years being a work alcoholic with 20 hr. work days, fighting the fight, stress, and getting our children through college. Our time now. Our own schedule.

We still continue to consult, remote work, read, blog, volunteer, among other things to keep our minds active. We can spend our days as we see fit, without the hectic schedule. However, with this being said. How much time do you have before pending health factors, strike you down? For those of you in your fifties—it will hit you soon, enjoy life while you can. Seems like yesterday, I was forty. Time flies. Start preparing.

Now stuck in the middle of tending to our aging parents, and shocked to realize our children are in their forties, grandchildren, and now the main focus is social security, budgeting, healthcare, and upcoming Medicare. How did we get here? Not a fun subject. A necessary one.

Kinsley is realistic and at times witty in writing about aging, death and his own health in this brief collection of essays, some of which have appeared in Time, the New Yorker and elsewhere. At times, overall quite depressing (not a very positive read).

Between what your parents gave you to start with—genetically or culturally or financially—and pure luck, you play a small role in determining how long you live. Yes, life is unfair. From, diet, exercise, sleep, vitamins you may extend your life; however, it is the game that really counts.

The author proposes a question: the biggest competition is about to start. What do you have now and what do you covet that you would not gladly trade for five extra years. Heath, children, cures, a noble cause?

The last chapter, I could have done without. Many will agree with this. No, am not in favor of giving social security back to the government to pay for the $17 trillion debt. Many need social security in order to survive, having never recovered from 2002 and 2008 crash. Some have been left with taking early retirement, due to the job market; thereby, cutting the monthly amount drastically. My parents are in their mid-eighties and the way they are going, they may outlive me. My relatives tend to live long; late 90s-100.

We never know how we will age, and gravity hits in the blink of an eye. After reading OLD AGE, you will count yourself lucky to have your health. The author gives us facts, statistics, advice, and leaves us with questions to ponder. How do we want to be remembered?

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