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Creative Aging: Rethinking Retirement and Non-Retirement in a Changing World

Overview

Discover Your Unique Gift

"Creative aging is a choice…. If we remember that transition always begins with endings, moves on to a wilderness period of testing and trying, and only then do we reach the beginning of something new, then we can embrace this encore period of life with hope and curiosity, remembering always that it is our true nature to be creative, to be always birthing new ways of sharing our planet together." —from the Epilogue

In a practical and useful way, Marjory...

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Overview

Discover Your Unique Gift

"Creative aging is a choice…. If we remember that transition always begins with endings, moves on to a wilderness period of testing and trying, and only then do we reach the beginning of something new, then we can embrace this encore period of life with hope and curiosity, remembering always that it is our true nature to be creative, to be always birthing new ways of sharing our planet together." —from the Epilogue

In a practical and useful way, Marjory Zoet Bankson explores the spiritual dimensions of retirement and aging. She offers creative ways for you to share your gifts and experience, particularly when retirement leaves you questioning who you are when you are no longer defined by your career.

Drawing on stories of people who have reinvented their lives in their older years, Bankson explores the issues you need to address as you move into this generative period of life:

  • Release: Letting go of the vocational identity associated with your career or primary work
  • Resistance: Feeling stuck, stagnant, resisting change
  • Reclaiming: Drawing energy from the past, discovering unused gifts
  • Revelation: Forming a new vision of the future
  • Crossing Point: Moving from stagnation to generativity
  • Risk: Stepping out into the world with new hope
  • Relating: Finding or creating new structures for a new kind of work
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Precious and insightful … will teach you how to age consciously as well as respect your limitations and joyfully reclaim your purpose and call. A treasure. Don't grow old without it."
Rev. Holly W. Whitcomb, author, Seven Spiiritual Gifts of Waiting

"Aimed at but by no means limited to the boomer generation, hits the right note … aging is not just about giving back, but about giving forward … offering ourselves for some larger purpose rather than simply protecting what we have."
Fr. Tom Ryan, author, Soul Fire: Accessing Your Creativity

“A great gift to everyone in the field of aging. With gentle, deep encouragement ... [it] walks readers through what has been lost, mourned, reclaimed, and points toward finding the creative call in the later years…. Strongly recommended for everyone in the third stage as well as professional and interested laypersons.”
Phoebe Girard, hospice worker; co-founder, Conscious Aging Network of New Mexico; former editorial board member, ASA Forum on Religion, Spirituality and Aging

“A must-read for anyone who wants more out of their later years than the traditional retirement experience…. A unique contribution to the field of literature on aging and retirement.”
Molly Srode, author, Creating a Spiriting Retirement and Keeping Spiritual Balance as We Grow Older

“Doesn't so much take us by the hand as it opens doors to thinking about what is right for each of us.”
Matilda Charles, “Senior News Line”

“A deep and stirring reminder that the later years of our lives can be creative, rich, and even more fulfilling than those that went before.”

Deborah Sokolove, artist and director, Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion; associate professor of art and worship, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C.

“[A] refreshing blend of deep wisdom, relational authenticity, and practical tools … a book that will make a difference. My list of the people I want to give this book to is growing.”

Doug Wysockey-Johnson, executive director, Lumunos (formerly Faith At Work

“A road map of wisdom for the crossroads of life. [W]eaves insight and story [to] illuminate the phases of transition that we all will face in the future…. Encourages us to move the conversation about such change from our head to our hearts.”
Terri Lynn Simpson, contemplative programs consultant, Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage, Washington National Cathedral

“Assures, encourages, challenges readers to embrace the questions, fears, and most significantly the gifts of aging. The shared stories of elders comfort the reader who is walking the labyrinth of aging and seeks a spiritual path of dignity, grace, faith and love.”
Jean M. Richardson, executive director, Kirkridge Retreat Center

“Powerful and compelling … deserves to be read and practiced by anyone, regardless of their age, who wants to reconnect with their spirit and live a life worth having.”
John J. Scherer, author, Five Questions That Change Everything; founder, The Scherer Leadership Center

Catholic Library World - Ann Lynch

Drawing on stories of real-life people, this practical, useful book develops the spiritual dimensions of aging in a way that makes what the author calls "the generative years" count. Bankson develops her book around seven themes. She begins with Release: letting go of vocational identity; and continues with Resistance: resisting change; Reclaiming: drawing energy from the past; Revelation: forming a new vision for the future; Crossing Point: moving from stagnation to generatively; Risk: stepping out with new hope; and Relating: creating or finding new structures for a new kind of work. The book is a valuable tool for those beginning to think of retirement, forced into retirement by the present economy, as the situation forces the reader to look at how s(he) looks at her(himself) as a person or as a worker. Each chapter is followed by a reflection on the spiritual dimension and questions to ponder related to the topic. The epilogue, “Living Wholeheartedly,” focuses on the attitude necessary to age creatively, being grateful for the gift of this extra time to receive the grace that surrounds us every day. In simple language the author presents considerations that will give the reader a choice between growing old and creative aging as s(he) reworks her/his identity associated with a career, making peace with what has or has not been accomplished to discovering who s(he) is now and enjoying the freedom. She calls readers to remember that “we are human beings not human doings.” This valuable book is strongly recommended for anyone facing the reality of retirement. Ann Lynch, SSJ

Read the Spirit

Think aging is a problem? Or, even worse: an illness? A disorder to be avoided at all costs? Are you nervous even discussing the "a" word?

Well, grab a copy of “Creative Aging” by Marjory Zoet Bankson and throw away that negative baggage. Right away you'll be immersed in phrases like this: “this amazing new period of generativity,” “new wellsprings of creative work” and “a period of possibility.”

ReadTheSpirit has been urging writers and publishers to dig more deeply into the spiritual gifts of aging. Most of the thousands of books on aging, to date, are about—avoiding it. So, today, we’re very pleased to recommend Bankson’s book. If you’re not familiar with her work, she was a key leader in the “Faith At Work” movement. She’s a popular retreat leader and inspirational speaker in mainline Christian circles. She’s currently based at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. And on top of all that? She’s an accomplished artist who also writes about the spiritual insights unlocked through the arts.

So, what does this extremely talented author know about the lives of real people like us? A lot. In fact, for this book, she conducted a series of fresh interviews with people in their 60s and 70s, which is the core age range she’s addressing here. Within the book, she leads us through eight steps of spiritual discernment and preparation for a creative new life in our older years.

What are these steps? She begins with two “r” words: rethinking and release—in other words, reorienting our minds and hearts to all the tough transitions involved in this period of life. Then, she writes about the new forms of creative energy we can discover—an exciting new vocational focus we can find at this stage in life—and she describes new ways of relating to our communities in our 60s and 70s.

SENIOR NEWS LINE - Matilda Charles

If somebody asked me if I wanted to reinvent myself, I think I'd reply tongue-in-cheek that there are parts of me that could use a tune-up, but overall, no. But after reading Marjory Zoet Bankson’s new book, "Creative Aging: Rethinking Retirement and Non-Retirement in a Changing World" (SkyLight Paths Publishing, $16.99), I’m reconsidering my answer. “Creative Aging” was written for those of us who are thinking about what it means to grow older and retire ... and what comes next. The book is about life transitions -- experiencing endings before we can make new beginnings, and then experiencing a period of trying things out before we take on our newly reinvented lives.

This kind of planning and thinking can be crucial, especially for those of us who have felt ourselves defi ned by career. If we’re no longer an (accountant/factory worker/teacher), then what are we? What will we do with the rest of our years? Will they be meaningful?

“Creative Aging” walks us through the steps of getting there: letting go of vocational identity, feeling stuck and resistant to change, drawing energy from the past, forming a new vision for the future, moving toward it, taking risks and fi nding a new purpose. Full of stories of those who have already walked this path, “Creative Aging” doesn’t so much take us by the hand as it opens doors to thinking about what is right for each of us. The stories are eye-openers as they tell what we can expect and how to spot opportunities for making changes. As the book says, “At this stage of life, we don’t have to wait for someone else to approve.” If you’re sensing even the slightest questions about “What’s next?” take a look at “Creative Aging.”

Sojourners Faith, Politics, Culture - Julie Polter

Later Life Abundant

In Creative Aging: Rethinking Retirement and Non-Retirement in a Changing World , Marjory Zoet Bankson examines the spiritual dimensions of vocation in later life and how to discern and claim new, generative ways to use gifts and experiences. Skylight Paths

Book Register

PSYCHOLOLOGY OF AGING, GOLDEN YEARS, LIFE CHALLENGES, CHANGE / Adult / Nonfiction, Self-Help, Personal Stories: CREATIVE AGING: Rethinking Retirement and Non-Retirement in a Changing World (May 2010 SkyLight Paths $16.99 Trade Paperback 978-1-59473-281-2). Written by Marjory Zoet Bankson (The Soulwork of Clay), Faith@Work former editor, retreat and workshop leader, author of five titles. Realize that you are not your job, especially if you've left it; retirement is a time to rediscover your gifts, re-envision your future, try something new, maybe even a different kind of work. Praise: Creating a Spiriting Retirement author Molly Strode ("A must-read for anyone who wants more out of their later years than the traditional retirement experience."); Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting (“Precious and insightful. A treasure.”); Five Questions That Change Everything author John J. Scherer (“Powerful and compelling.”). Today's Books editor Lex Ticonderoga puts Creative Aging on the “A-List!”. Publisher website: skylightpaths.com. Publicity: Jennifer Rataj, publicity@skylightpaths.com, 800-457-4000; media kit includes press release, advance praise.

Library Journal
Workshop leader and president of Faith@Work, Bankson explores the inner work of making one's later years creative and meaningful. She has interviewed hundreds of people and discovered that there are seven phases of transition in aging: Release, Resistance, Reclaiming, Revelation, Crossing Point, Risk, and Relating. She explores these in depth and points out that the key concerns of the retirement-aged person are self-identity and the need to give back and be useful. She takes the realities of failing health and finances into account but provides the wider perspective on finding new meaning. Real-life stories and probing questions help readers gain insights into the last decades of life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594732812
  • Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 630,326
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Marjory Zoet Bankson, an artist and spiritual guide, is author of The Soulwork of Clay: A Hands-On Approach to Spirituality and Creative Aging: Rethinking Retirement and Non-Retirement in a Changing World (both SkyLight Paths) and many other books. Former president of Faith At Work (now called Lumunos) and editor of Faith@Work magazine for over twenty years, she now travels nationally to offer retreats and workshops. She currently teaches on spiritual companionship at Washington National Cathedral, the Servant Leadership School, and Virginia Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Making the Extra Years Count 1

1 What Now?: Rethinking Aging 7

2 Release: The Inner Work of Leaving 23

3 Resistance: Moving Beyond Security 41

4 Reclaiming: Riches from the Past 55

5 Revelation: Where Does Newness Come From? 71

6 Crossing Point: Joining Inner and Outer Worlds 87

7 Risk: Beginning Again with More Focus 101

8 Relating: Finding the Right Form for Now 117

Epilogue: Living Wholeheartedly 133

Suggestions for Further Reading 137

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