Fierce with Age: Chasing God and Squirrels in Brooklyn

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Overview

In her breakthrough generational memoir, Boomer expert Carol Orsborn relates the ups and downs of a tumultuous year spent facing, busting, and ultimately triumphing over the stereotypes of growing old. Along the way, she nurtures a love-starved friend through a doomed affair with a younger man, wrestles with the meaning of an exploding fish, and regains her passion for life at the side of her squirrel-crazed dog, Lucky.

The message is as deep as it is engaging. In Carol’s own ...

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Fierce with Age: Chasing God and Squirrels in Brooklyn

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Overview

In her breakthrough generational memoir, Boomer expert Carol Orsborn relates the ups and downs of a tumultuous year spent facing, busting, and ultimately triumphing over the stereotypes of growing old. Along the way, she nurtures a love-starved friend through a doomed affair with a younger man, wrestles with the meaning of an exploding fish, and regains her passion for life at the side of her squirrel-crazed dog, Lucky.

The message is as deep as it is engaging. In Carol’s own words, “Plummet into aging, stare mortality in the eye, surrender everything and what else is there left to fear? The way is perilous, danger on all sides. But we can be part of a generation no longer afraid of age. We are becoming, instead, a generation fierce with age.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From Publishers Weekly:
In this "journey to the wild side of midlife," prolific author Orsborn (Vibrant Nation: What Women 50+ Know, Think, Do, and Buy) takes aging personally. Drawing from one-year diary she kept in her early sixties, Orsborn reveals the slow dawning that she, like her baby boomer brethren, "had become old." While Orsborn writes of becoming "fierce" with age, her musings lean more toward acquiescence than aggression. With gentle, self-effacing humor, for instance, she tells of losing her online writing berth, giving her time for walks in the park with her Maltese terrier mix, Lucky. She toys with turning Lucky's squirrel-chasing antics into a book of life lessons, only to discover to her chagrin that Deepak Chopra beat her to it. Short chapters—some less than a page long—maintain the spontaneous feeling of a diary, although every passage includes apt anecdotes and rich descriptions that keep this from being pure navel-gazing. Orsborn's year peaks with her development of guiding principles she calls the "11 Spiritual Truths of Aging." While it's a pivotal moment for the author, readers may recognize themselves more in the everyday vignettes that show how Orsborn came to accept the "unexpected onset of growing older." (May)

“A thought-provoking, brave, and courageous look at aging. Carol Orsborn tackles both the shadow and promise of transitioning beyond midlife, showing us aging as the opportunity to grow whole, rather than just grow old." —Ken and Maddy Dychtwald, bestselling authors, co-founders of Age Wave

"I've not read anything as honest and revealing as the tale of Carol Orsborn's personal journey into becoming Fierce with Age. Through searching deeply and having the courage to share the experience, she offers us all insights and validation of who we can become in mid-life and the years beyond." —Connie Goldman, author of Who Am I . . . Now That I'm Not Who I Was

"In a youth-centric society, Boomer women have understandably resisted the notion of growing old, but there comes a time in every life when denial of aging cracks. This is a time ripe for a book like Fierce with Age." —Marti Barletta, author of Marketing to Women and PrimeTime Women

“In an age where America creates elder ghettos, a brave woman comes out swinging. Her chronicle of a woman’s life after 50 is an inspiration for countless other women (and men) to bust through the stereotypes of aging.“ —Justine Willis Toms, co-founder of New Dimensions Radio and author of Small Pleasures: Finding Grace in a Chaotic World

“Through lyrically written pages of her memoir, Fierce with Age, Dr. Carol Orsborn conveys today’s vital challenge for the Baby Boomer generation: to understand and accept aging and all the ramifications. This book is a poignant invitation for Boomers to try on the liberating possibilities of aging, freed from denial and dodging. Through Orsborn’s lucid spiritual lens, coupled with the sophisticated nuances of a Boomer generation marketing expert, readers witness wisdom, wit, and wrath of a well-considered journey. Her memoir shares insightful stories, reflections and advice that can help Boomers discard illusions and illegitimacies of youth obsession, revealing instead the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual paths toward acceptance of the aging process, fiercely.” —Brent Green, author of Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers and Generation Reinvention
 
“Dr. Carol Orsborn confronts aging—not gracefully, but fiercely—inviting us on her journey of unflinching honesty and tender revelation. Her diary of growing older may inspire your own.” —Mary Lou Quinlan, author of The God Box

 “By telling us her story of struggle and transformation, Carol gives us hope that we, too, can be 'fierce with age' and, so, live fully with the fire for life.” —Robert L. Weber, Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry

“This is a rich, intimate, and hard-to-put-down read that reminds me aging may not be for sissies, but it can be for seers, adventurers, and a few lucky squirrels. Carol Orsborn takes me there." —Leah Komaiko, author of Am I Old Yet?
 
“Carol Orsborn bravely invites us to accompany her as she wanders in the wilderness of doubt and confusion after her job and identity are stripped away, and as she gradually claims new dreams and renewed faith. Orsborn’s searingly honest and ultimately hopeful account of turning toward aging offers invaluable inspiration to all of us who are, or will be, on the journey of later life.” —Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, MSW, MAJCS, BCC, author of Jewish Visions for Aging

"[Orsborn's] book will deeply resonate with those who are transitioning beyond the identity that is tied up in a business card. It is a moving, honest, hard-to-put-down account of that transitional year that is filled with loss, discovery, and renewal and the gamut of emotions that made up her experience. Carol wants us to know that we are not alone in our process of transitioning from a 'doing' state, which is all tied up with our titles, accomplishments, and successes, to that of simply 'being.'" —Kathy Sporre, Program Supervisor, Fergus Falls Senior Citizens Program, Inc.

"Many will identify with [Orsborn's] struggle to find meaning in the second half of life. Unlike many other fine authors on the positive aspects of aging, Orsborn writes of her personal journey. She dwells in her dark despair until a seed of possibility sprouts and grows." Judith Helburn, Story Circle Book Reviews

"This is a fascinating book, and it not only resonates with me, but it keeps coming back to me during the day as I go about my normal activities. . . . A thought-provoking book." —Anne L. Holmes, APR, "Boomer in Chief," National Association of Baby Boomer Women

"Carol Orsborn’s new book is her memoir about discovering, adjusting to, and eventually celebrating the shock of being old. Orsborn, who holds a masters of theological studies and a doctorate in the history and critical theory of religion from Vanderbilt University, delves into her spiritual challenges of aging with honesty and a strong dose of humor." —Paul Kleyman, editor, Generation Beat Online

"This honest and revealing book is one of the most thought-provoking volumes I have read on how our culture discards us as we age, and how best to respond to this affront to our value as a human being." —Laura Lee Carter, midlifecrisisqueen.com

"Don’t miss Carol Orsborn’s generational memoir!" Andrea Gallagher, SoCal Member and Life Planning Network President 

"Orsborn doesn't romanticize aging or its challenges, and she describes the unique opportunities that later life offers in a way that makes sense. . . . A very engaging memoir." —Gaea Yudron, Sage's Play

"If you’re wondering how a highly successful and accomplished woman, spiritual writer and corporate consultant experienced the initiation of age, I highly recommend her story. It may illuminate your own story as well." —John Robinson, PH.D., D.MIN.

"Sometimes a book comes along at just the right time. That's the case with Fierce with Age." —Miriam Downey, The Cyberlibrarian

 

Publishers Weekly
In this "journey to the wild side of midlife," prolific author Orsborn (Vibrant Nation: What Women 50+ Know, Think, Do, and Buy) takes aging personally. Drawing from one-year diary she kept in her early sixties, Orsborn reveals the slow dawning that she, like her baby boomer brethren, "had become old." While Orsborn writes of becoming "fierce" with age, her musings lean more toward acquiescence than aggression. With gentle, self-effacing humor, for instance, she tells of losing her online writing berth, giving her time for walks in the park with her Maltese terrier mix, Lucky. She toys with turning Lucky's squirrel-chasing antics into a book of life lessons, only to discover to her chagrin that Deepak Chopra beat her to it. Short chapters—some less than a page long—maintain the spontaneous feeling of a diary, although every passage includes apt anecdotes and rich descriptions that keep this from being pure navel-gazing. Orsborn's year peaks with her development of guiding principles she calls the "11 Spiritual Truths of Aging." While it's a pivotal moment for the author, readers may recognize themselves more in the everyday vignettes that show how Orsborn came to accept the "unexpected onset of growing older." (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620455203
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 5/7/2013
  • Pages: 242
  • Sales rank: 429,182
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Orsborn is the bestselling author of over twenty books and co-author of Boom: Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer—The Baby Boomer Woman and Vibrant Nation: What Women 50+ Know, Think, Do, and Buy. An internationally recognized authority on marketing to the Boomer woman, Orsborn is founder of FierceWithAge.com, the Online Center for Spiritual Living; and CEO of a Boomer demographic speaking, brand-blogging, and consulting service for such major brands as Ford, Prudential, and Humana. She writes popular blogs for Huffington Post, PBS’s Next Avenue, and Third Age, as well as having served as senior strategist for Vibrant Nation, the leading online community dedicated exclusively to women 50+.

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Read an Excerpt

I didn’t know I was writing a book about my journey into the wild space beyond midlife for an entire season of keeping up my daily diary. But then again, when I started this bravest of all my diaries, I was still “Carol Orsborn.”

Now, I’m not. I’m something else entirely than the brand and identity that has defined me over the past six decades and twenty books. This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I’m surprisingly re-energized about who I am becoming, and fiercely curious about what lays ahead. As I said, this is not a bad thing—but certainly different. And, may I add, this takes a fair amount of getting used to.

Just one year previously, I had been an accomplished author, scholar and businesswoman at the peak of my career. In the heat of midlife, I prided myself on looking and acting at least ten years younger than my chronological age. As much as I welcomed the birth of my first grandchild, I couldn’t believe that I was old enough to have sourced not just one, but two generations. I took comfort in the fact that the average age of grandparents in America is forty-something, so much younger than the stereotypes. While I knew I, myself, was not forty (not even as in “sixty is the new forty”), I did think I was going to be, at the very least, “the new sixty.”

This ebullient mood, alas, was not to last for long. For reasons you will soon learn, my persona unexpectedly found itself cracked open against the onslaught of time. One day, I was a smart, spiritual woman at the peak of her game. The next moment, it was as if I had forgotten everything I’d learned over the course of my life. I’d forgotten how to be powerful, how to feel worthy and visible. I’d even forgotten how to pray. In fact, I didn’t so much pull my thumb out of the subject matter that emerged as the theme of my year’s journey. Rather, I catapulted headfirst into it: a terrifying plunge with me kicking and raging senselessly against the aging process and all it entailed.

Because there was no particular crisis, there would be no denouement. I could not get things to go back the way they were, complete a grieving process or accept a diagnosis. Rather, I had entered no less than a new prolonged life stage: one that our entire society either denies, reviles or sentimentalizes in order to trivialize.

In short, I had become old.

As I write this introduction at the end of this year’s transition, no one is more surprised, or gratified, than I to have emerged with a most astonishing discovery. I’m okay with this. In fact, I am more than merely accepting aging. I am actually excited about this new life stage for one very good reason: I am catching my first, promising glimpse of what it truly means to be free. Plummet into aging, stare mortality in the eye, surrender everything and what else is there left to fear? The way is perilous, danger on all sides. But I am no longer a woman afraid of age. I have become, instead, a woman fierce with age.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Wild Space

Part One: Fall
1 Epiphany
2 The Elf
3 Self-Image
4 Just Lucky
5 Fame
6 Deepak Wrote My Book
7 Ten Legs
8 Close Encounters
9 Prayer Shawl

Part Two: Winter
10 Ice Storm 
11 Best Friend
12 Facebook
13 Message from Cancun
14 Maggie’s Yearbook
15 My Special Day
16 Witness to a Life
17 Old friend
18 Last Course
19 Dis-Robed
20 Journey by Flashlight 
21 The Exploding Fish                                                                                                                               
22 Boiled Chicken
23 Snow Booties 
24 Skype 
25 The End of the Story                                                                                                                                    
26 Ordinary Happiness
27 Evolution
28 Budgeting
29 Unhinged
30 At the Borderline
31 Whack-a-Mole
32 Keen Insights
33 Maggie’s Visit
34 Debrief 
35 Withdrawal 
36 If Only
37 Something
38 A Strange Being
39 Slipping Down the Pyramid
40 The Dance

Part Three: Spring
41 The Last Cappuccino
42 Revised Numbers
43 Clarity
44 The Promised Land
45 Smote
46 Giving Notice
47 Pinch My Thigh
48 The Clue
49 Stripped
50 The Portrait
51 The Last Time
52 Reckoning
53 Mea Still Culpa
54 Fierce With Reality
55 The Party Next Door
56 Fiercer Still
57 Freedom Revisited
58 120 Years Old

Part Four: Summer
59 Just Make One Dog Happy
60 Spiritual Training
61 Skele-Elf   
62 Bone Mountain
63 Bear Me Away
64 Flashlight On
65 Forty Years
66 Story Time
67 Our Last Walk in Brooklyn
68 The Alter
69 Ready to Move
70 Turning toward the Future

Carol’s Prayer
Appendices
11 Things I Learned about Aging
Sources
Q&A

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  • Posted July 19, 2013

    A Must Read for Baby Boomers Everywhere!

    A friend recommended this one and I am so glad that he did! I think it should be required reading for anyone who is 60+ or planning to be 60+ one day! The challenges the author shares are so real and her description of how one day you just suddenly realize your age makes you feel that she is reading your thoughts!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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