"Our Thoughts on Aging" Interview Project: August 2015 Update

The last time I shared an update about this interview project was in December 2013! That’s 20 months ago! Wowsa. Apologies to all of you who have followed along on this journey. Since then so much has changed in my life, changes that have not only moved this interview project forward but pretty much catapulted it way beyond what I could have imagined. But I am speeding ahead so I’ll slow down and share what happened since that December 2013 when I made the decision to conclude the interview project at 30 interviews. Up until that point, I shared these interviews publicly on this blog and then I moved them into a secret space where only I could access them.

I then went on to explore what to do next, what would be most meaningful: for me, for the interviewees, for the world. After brainstorming a myriad of possibilities, I decided to move forward with a book — a beautiful, evocative, moving page-turner on aging and dying and death. You know, the sexy stuff.

In the first half of 2014 my dad experienced a series of health events and crises that took his health into a state of decline. He was hospitalized in late June 2014 and passed away on July 20, 2014. My dad’s death was personally transformative, wisdom-building of the life experience kind. I earned new grey-hairs honestly through these years of care-giving, grieving and transitioning through family loss and changes that rippled out.

Looking back, I realize that it was as though a part of me had stalled on this project, as if an inner part of me knew, knew, that I needed to experience the death of my dad so that I could write and create this from a place of lived understanding.

Interestingly, I had contacted my writing coach, Chris Kay Fraser at Firefly Creative Writing, in the Spring while I was in the midst of it all. Similarly to when my clients decide to hire me, I decided to hire her for accountability, structure, support, to find my way into new insights and realizations, and for what she excels at, inspiration. So now I am writing up my own story and threading it among these others for what I hope will be evocative and compelling reading.

For a variety of what-I-think-are interesting reasons that are will be elaborated in the book, from the original 30 interviews there will now be approximately 17 interviewees in the final version. After reconnecting with each of them for clarity and updates, I am now in the process of transcribing them and shaping them into a story format. I found that reading an interview is one experience and that reading someone’s story is decidedly more fluid and intimate.

As I mentioned earlier, there are a few special treats that will be created out of this project. A couple of the interview questions asked about the positive things about aging and the total count from the interviewees came to over 70! I’m working with a talented graphic designer to create a text image for posters, cards, etc. And each interviewee will receive a gift package for volunteering their time and sharing their personal thoughts — theirs has been a most valuable and meaningful contribution.