This book is not just for "old" people: Part 1

"I am just another version of you. We are just versions of each other."
Norman Lear

So true. I’m a younger version of you, I’m an older version of you.
You might think this book is about old people or for old people. It’s really not.

Young adults in their 20s wanted to be interviewed and share their stories in this book. There are people in mid-life and elder hood who talk about their younger selves.
This book is for teenagers who think their parents and grandparents are old and gross.
It’s for 20- and 30-somethings who feel pressured to make decisions and meet expectations about career, relationship, home, family and who they are.
It’s for 40- and 50-somethings who think they are too old or look old, or are told they are too old or look old.
We worry about being old, or are made to worry about being old, seems like all the time.

Photo credit: by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

Photo credit: by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

And that’s just the part about aging. Then there’s death and dying, and who doesn’t need to engage with that in their life, maybe even today. When we’re kids, teenagers and young adults, we need it most and spoken with least.

So this book is not just for old people, it’s for all of us. Read more about it here.

So, how does it feel, to be published?

I've been asked, "So, how does it feel, to be published?" I’m pretty sure that anyone who publishes their first book feels similarly. This is what I’m experiencing at this moment.

Astonishment. I’m incredulous. I can’t friggin’ believe that it’s done!

Relief. I spent a lot of work, energy, time, and resources on this. No regrets, I know I’m changed by it. And I am happy to let it go. My shoulders and mind need freeing of everything required to complete this.

Vulnerability. After all I’m digging into taboo topics. Aging. Death. Dying. Seriously taboo, so what consequences will there be: Death threats? Bullying? Social media hijacks? And what have I done by revealing myself so openly and honestly? Yikes.

Anxiety. The silence freaks me out. The silence is what got me started on this project. It’s one of Gottman’s Four Horsemen and you know what he says about it, it’s not so good for healthy relationships. I want people to react - say anything! What you like about the book, what you don’t like so much, what freaks you out, what stops you from reading it to the end, what keeps you going? Just say something, anything!

Gratitude and Love. What everyone says is true: we need others to help us make dreams and goals come true. And I’m grateful for the many generous and kind people I know and the ones I met because of this project.

"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.

Prevent Aging By...

clockYou prevent aging by wearing beautiful make-up. You prevent aging by working hard and being successful. You prevent aging by drinking green smoothies, eating clean and taking supplements. You prevent aging by having a romantic relationship. You prevent aging by looking sexy and wearing sexy clothes. You prevent aging by making money and being financially wealthy. You prevent aging by transforming into a tortoise or koi. You prevent aging by dyeing your grey hairs. You prevent aging by dating someone decades younger than you. You prevent aging by lying about your age. You prevent aging by avoiding the doctor. You prevent aging by running marathons. You prevent aging by filling your skin with fillers. You prevent aging by not drinking, not smoking, not doing drugs. You prevent aging by wearing a mask — party, masquerade, Halloween or facial. You prevent aging by working out and lifting weights. You prevent aging by being productive and living a fulfilling life. You prevent aging by living to 120. You prevent aging by doing yoga and meditating. You prevent aging by watching your cholesterol. You prevent aging by falling in love. You prevent aging by having faith. You prevent aging by living in a Blue Zone. You prevent aging by applying anti-aging moisturizer and serum. You prevent aging by photoshopping your pictures. You prevent aging by weighing the same as you did in high school. You prevent aging by not laughing - no laugh lines. You prevent aging by not talking about it, especially with your loved ones. You prevent aging by keeping your brain stimulated with lectures, games and puzzles. You prevent aging by not looking at yourself in a mirror. You prevent aging by having lots of sex, or lovers. You prevent aging by being youthful and vibrant.

Except you can’t...prevent aging.