Getting Over Getting Older: An Intimate Journeyby Letty C. Cottin Pogrebin, Little Brown
As 77 million baby boomers begin turning fifty, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a respected social critic and award-winning writer, tells the truth about that uncharted period when time speeds up and the body slows down - when you are no longer young but far from old, and you refuse to believe that you are over the hill. Pogrebin's journey out of her forties and into her
As 77 million baby boomers begin turning fifty, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a respected social critic and award-winning writer, tells the truth about that uncharted period when time speeds up and the body slows down - when you are no longer young but far from old, and you refuse to believe that you are over the hill. Pogrebin's journey out of her forties and into her fifties becomes a user-friendly map of this challenging terrain as she demystifies the fears most people can't face and celebrates the possibilities most people can't see. Every woman who is facing fifty or has already moved past it will be grateful for this warm, witty exploration of the indignities and epiphanies of midlife, large and small. Suddenly waking up in the middle of the night, for instance, with a non-negotiable need to go to the bathroom. Immediately. Having to let the waistband out on every skirt you own. Discovering one day that you can no longer read the phone book. Finally figuring out what you want to be when you grow up. Realizing that not everyone you love will be here forever and neither will you. Cherishing the present as never before.
Pogrebin's (Deborah, Golda, and Me, 1991, etc.) friends groaned when they heard she was writing about aging; how depressing, they thought. Readers may groan as well at the prospect of another paean to growing older. But Pogrebin, now 56, brings some fresh insights to the process, particularly in a discussion of what time means once you're over the hill. Pogrebin places herself in that small cohort born between 1932, when FDR was elected president, and 1945, the end of WW II. She labels this group "the Roosevelt babies," calling them (and herself) "unself-conscious trailblazers," mapping the territory of longevity for the Boomers. "Time is all there is," she says, so don't hoard it or waste it trying to recapture youth. "Use it or lose it" is but one piece of T-shirt advice that she passes along, in company with poetry and observations from May Sarton, Simone de Beauvoir, and feminist peers from her early years at Ms. magazine. Often setting herself apart from what she views as the unrelentingly positive feminist party line on aging, she hails the value of nostalgia in a section on memory and praises diet, exercise, and hormone replacement therapy in chapters on the aging body. She also speculates on whether the public discouse on menopause will stigmatize older women as the mysteries of menstruation and PMS once kept young women in their place. In the end, Pogrebin is reconciled to the idea of dying, if not to the fact of death.
While there is undeniably much that is thoughtful and useful in this volume, it's often buried in anecdotes about family and friends less interesting to general readers than to the author.
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