Book Review – Positive Aging

Fellow blogger Kathy Gottberg’s book Positive Aging (Amazon link here) is a wonderful reiteration of the importance of being positive about aging via a combination of research background and some practical how-to’s.  If you read her wonderful blog (link here), you’ll be familiar with many of these concepts, but reiteration is helpful, especially for a formally negative person like me.  

When I “review” a book for a blog post, I realize I focus on only the elements that speak to me. While I appreciate the research Kathy presented on why things are important, as a structure-process gal I tend to focus more on the how-to.

I was intrigued by the questions the book’s content raised on my own thinking patterns, the validation the book provided on my own choices, and the reinforcement that I need to continue the path, because I have chosen a path of positivity.

 

Questions Raised

Does my view of aging carry heavy baggage? Yes, I am no longer young. Yes, there are certain liabilities that come with age – slower body recovery, poorer eyesight, less stamina. Yes, there is still a lot of societal ageism that even I am engaged in. (Ouch)  Can I really shift to believe that aging is a productive and positive phase of life? Can I recognize that the increase in positive emotional growth and engagement in living outweigh the advancing physical limitations?

Be optimistic and engaged in life today.

Positively anticipate the future.

I think these wonderful affirmations/mantras are the key to positive aging!

 

Validation

But the how to do it (positive aging) has many elements. As Kathy points out and I related to myself, I am actually in a very good place regarding positive aging.

  • My health is good. Even though I’ve faced issues (breast cancer), I am actually healthier and stronger than I’ve been in years. And with my new strength training focus, this will get better.
  • My marriage is strong. Hubby is my best friend and encourages me in my various growth explorations, even as he is content to live a less introspective life.
  • Our finances are strong.   All that delayed gratification and focus on living below our means has paid off.
  • I enjoy writing and am finding it is an outlet that provides me a sense of life meaning and creativity.
  • I am working on self-acceptance.  I have a plan of where I want my life to “go”.

 

Some Reinforcing Tips on How to do Positive Aging

  • Proactively take care of my health – body, mind, financial! Be physically active (“move it or lose it”), eat healthier, de-stress, and sleep enough. Plan all the regular health checks.
  • Continue a love of learning.   The “use or lose it” when applied to brain. Say yes to opportunities. Have a growth mindset. What new things do I want to explore?
  • Stop projecting the youthful (career climbing) values/expectations of activity and productivity onto today’s life. Heed the call for inner growth; dive into self-discovery and contemplation. Don’t mistake busyness and to-do checklists as the same as life meaning and satisfaction. Now is about more being and less doing – challenging in a culture that values doing, productivity, and busyness.
  • Seek out the positive – news, situations, people – and avoid the negative ones. And intentionally work on those people connections – both breadth and depth of relationships are critical to staying engaged in life.
  • Have the courage to be one’s true self – it’s not about what you do, or how you look, or what you have. Be the “real me” and not the one I think people want or do things I think people expect me to do.
  • A purposeful mindset. Have a plan to accomplish something meaningful, focus on what makes me happy and whole, and share my talents. Have something to look forward to!

 

Kathy’s book was a great pep talk for continuing to train my brain to stay positive. Positivity is a choice and one this previously half-glass-empty, cynical workaholic has consciously made.

  • Choose optimism & hope instead of regret & disappointment.
  • Choose a growth mindset and adaptation to limitations versus worry and fear about mental and physical decline.
  • Choose to view continued engagement in life as an ongoing adventure.

 

What are you choosing? Maybe choose to read Kathy’s book!  I’m glad I did.

12 thoughts on “Book Review – Positive Aging

  1. Hi Pat,
    I’ve not read Kathy’s book, but have been meaning to. And this helpful review of yours has motivated me again to seek it out. Positive psychology reminds us of the importance of gratitude and that forgiveness…even of ourselves and our imperfections helps us see and share happiness. Letting go of old expectations can be hard, but so liberating when we do it as I am discovering.
    Thanks again for such a helpful post.

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  2. Such great thoughts, Pat. I especially love the reminder to stop projecting youthful productivity goals on this phase of life. “Don’t mistake busyness and to-do checklists as the same as life meaning and satisfaction.” Probably because this is an area I need to work on. I’ve pinned this post so I can come back to Kathy’s book. Enjoy your week!

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  3. Thank you, Pat, for this review. I’m naturally a positive person. I like the reminder not to mistake busyness and to-do checklists as the same as life meaning and satisfaction. #mlstl

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  4. Hi Pat, This was a comprehensive review of Kathy’s book and I thank you for your honesty. I liked the way you applied it to your own situation and shared your responses with us. Kathy’s blog is always interesting! #mlstl

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  5. Pat this review is wonderful because you’ve applied it to yourself and hence to the rest of us. I get so tired of reading reviews that just summarise the book’s contents. I think this point was the key for me at the stage I’m at: “Stop projecting the youthful (career climbing) values/expectations of activity and productivity onto today’s life. Heed the call for inner growth; dive into self-discovery and contemplation. Don’t mistake busyness and to-do checklists as the same as life meaning and satisfaction. Now is about more being and less doing – challenging in a culture that values doing, productivity, and busyness.”
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for the review. I enjoy Kathy’s blog (and yours). I know this book is bound to be a gem full of wisdom. We are in a difficult season at the moment and find myself on the verge of tears most days. Hard to be positive for now. But this too shall pass. Hopefully, sooner rather than later. 🙂

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  7. I also enjoyed Kathy’s book, especially how it promoted the best aspects of getting older – which are many. I’m naturally a positive person and am feeling pretty good about where I am and where I’m going. Even with that, I found a few gems in her book that stayed with me. Very nice review and, like you, I recommend her book to others who find themselves in this wonderful – and sometimes challenging – time of life.

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  8. Hi Pat! I am so glad you enjoyed reading my book and that you thought my suggestions were helpful. I don’t think I could have offered a better synopsis than you did. THANK YOU! And about the only thing I would add is that I’m not an expert by any means. I’m just like everyone doing my best to stay hopeful, optimistic and eager for the future as the years go by. Somedays it’s a piece of cake, other days? That’s when I have to pull out this book and read another chapter or two. But in the long run I can’t help but believe (and certainly the research supports it) that it is far, far better to stay that way than to give in to fear or discouragement. And one of the best things about being a blogger is that you get to form friendships with others who are walking the same path. Let’s keep reminding each other, okay? ~Kathy

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  9. Hi Pat, Do you think that our view of aging is formed by our culture in North America? I have lived in countries where age is respected by the younger generation. Wisdom from older relatives helps to bond the families together where everyone including older members of the family play a role. I do not feel the same thing here in North America. Thinking about this even helps me examine my own view of the elderly and I find that I am guilty of having preconceptions about that age group. Some random thoughts anyway!

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    1. Fran, Absolutely our view of aging is formed by our culture! It’s why it is so hard to shift… there is still a strong youth-based culture here in the US, still an “I’m old” mentality among those over a certain age (I hear it in some of my friends comments). It’s hard to shift to a more contemplative, less-busy lifestyle of an “elder” without also feeling like you’re no longer a worthy part of society. There is some shift, but a full shift will be a long time coming… kinda like how women are treated (equal pay, sexual harassment) is a long time in coming.

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  10. Hi, Pat – I am a big fan of Kathy’s blog, her books and…Kathy herself. I greatly enjoyed this book. I especially like the reminder that projecting old expectations onto our current life is probably not very helpful (spoiler alert–it’s not)! Thanks for this great review!

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