The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully

The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully

3.7 29
by Joan Chittister, Joan D. Chittister
     
 

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Not only accepting but celebrating getting old, this inspirational and illuminating work looks at the many facets of the aging process, from purposes and challenges to struggles and surprises.  See more details below

Overview


Not only accepting but celebrating getting old, this inspirational and illuminating work looks at the many facets of the aging process, from purposes and challenges to struggles and surprises.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Well-known in Catholic circles for her willingness to take on anybody-even the pope-in defense of women's rights, Chittister, now in her 70s, examines how it feels "to be facing that time of life for which there is no career plan." Clearly, getting older has not diminished the controversial nun, activist, lecturer and author of nearly 40 books on feminism, nonviolence and Benedictine wisdom. This collection of inspirational reflections, "not meant to be read in one sitting, or even in order, but one topic at a time," abounds in gentle insights and arresting aphorisms: "'Act your age' can be useful advice when you're seventeen; it's a mistake when you're seventy-seven." Beginning each short chapter with a trenchant quotation ("'It takes a long time,' Pablo Picasso wrote, 'to become young'"), she ponders topics such as fear, mystery, forgiveness and legacy. Old age is rich for those who choose to thrive, not wither: "We can recreate ourselves in order to be creative in the world in a different way than the boundaries of our previous life allowed."
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Library Journal

Here are two more self-help books aimed at the generation that refuses to grow old. In The Gift of Years, Benedictine sister Chittister beautifully downplays regrets and accents the rewards of a mature life. While she acknowledges the pain of old age, she focuses on the new beginnings that life can offer at this stage and discusses the need to stay involved, to put one's affairs in order, and to be open to new relationships.

Psychoanalyst Schwalbe, on the other hand, dispels negative stereotypes and proposes a number of efforts men (or women) can undertake to make their senior years as rewarding and as satisfying as possible. He discusses cognitive fitness, caregiving, grief, and changes in living arrangements. Two particularly helpful chapters deal with what to do when the late-life goals of spouses differ and how to repartner after death or divorce. Both books offer excellent information and would make a positive contribution to any public library's collection.
—Deborah Bigelow

From the Publisher

"Chittister beautifully downplays regrets and accents the rewards of a mature life."  —Library Journal, starred review

"This collection of inspirational reflections . . . abounds in gentle insights and arresting aphorisms."  —Publishers Weekly

“We can all draw strength from Chittister’s essays on regret, nostalgia, and forgiveness. She reminds readers of all generations that aging doesn’t have to be a depressing series of losses.” —School Library Journal

"Perhaps you have to be in the second half of life to know how truthfully and helpfully Joan Chittister speaks. We live in a first-half-of-life culture, which makes this wisdom all the more necessary—and all the more wonderful."  —Richard Rohr, author, The Naked Now

"A prophetic voice that is desperately needed in our troubled time."  —Karen Armstrong, author, The Great Transformation

"It's the best book I have read on the subject of aging, a dazzling work radiant with gems of insight on every page. It will be my spiritual reading in the days ahead."  —Andrew Greeley, author, The Great Mysteries

"Brims with insight, pluck, verve and courage. . . . It shows us both the joys and the challenges of growing older, and encourages us to discover the deep spiritual meaning that can come with older age."  —Helen Prejean, author, Dead Man Walking

"An amazing compendium of wisdom not only for people facing aging or providing support, but for everyone who wants to live a spiritually centered and balanced life."  —Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun Magazine

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781933346106
Publisher:
BlueBridge
Publication date:
05/01/2008
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
224,986
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.94(d)

What People are saying about this

Michael Lerner
An amazing compendium of wisdom not only for people facing aging or providing support, but for everyone who wants to live a spiritually centered and balanced life. (Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun Magazine)
Seyyed Hossein Nasr
In a world that glorifies youth and degrades old age, the words of Joan Chittister about aging are a precious gift. Through numerous insights, she invites us to realize that old age is not a drawing away from a fulfilling life, but a new life unto itself. (Seyyed Hossein Nasr, author, The Garden of Truth)
Richard P. McBrien
A book rich in wisdom-a wisdom that comes only from a life well-lived and a carefully cultivated spirituality. It is a book that is destined to be a classic. (Richard P. McBrien, author, Lives of the Saints)
Helen Prejean
Brims with insight, pluck, verve and courage. . . . Shows us both the joys and the challenges of growing older, and encourages us to discover the deep spiritual meaning that can come with older age. (Helen Prejean, author, Dead Man Walking)
Andrew Greeley
The best book I have read on the subject of aging, a dazzling work radiant with gems of insight on every page. It will be my spiritual reading in the days ahead. (Andrew Greeley, author, The Great Mysteries)

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Meet the Author


JOAN CHITTISTER is an internationally known writer and lecturer, and the executive director of Benetvision: A Resource and Research Center for Contemporary Spirituality. She currrently serves as co-chair of the UN-sponsored Global Peace Initiative of Women. She lives in Erie, Pennsylvania.

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The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Noel612 More than 1 year ago
I think the Gift of Years has valuable information for anyone over the age of 60 who is comtemplating retirement and what to do with the remaining years. Joan Chittester has obviously reflected on many aspects of life after 60: mystery, joy, meaning, adjustment, relationships, learning, etc. All these topics are in the form of short 4-5 page essays which end with a summary based on the "burden" and the "blessing" of these years. It's easy to skip around and pick the topics that most interest you. I think it is a remarkable book!
penguinJK More than 1 year ago
This is a great book to read & read again. As you travel through the many aspects of life, this book can give you many things to consider and then reconsider. I would suggest you look at it at least every few years or so.
Chimmi More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed Sr. Joan's writing, but never more than her work in this book. The book is organized into short chapters headed by thoughtful quotations and concluding with paragraphs to prompt additional reflection. Easy to read, but enormously provocative in its content, the book warrants accolades for its keen insights and perceptive views on aging.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This a terrific book for anyone over 60 or anyone who has grown older prematurely because of illness or accident. It is a must for the new retiree to set one on a positive path for the later years of life. The chapters are short, and each one is packed full of inspiration. Short chapters make it good one-chapter-a-day reading. I may even read the book more than once on this one-a-day basis. I need to be reminded often of the things it says. I especially like the little capsules of burden or blessing that conclude each chapter. I think it would also be a good book for a senior discussion group or to read aloud to one another. Because of the age for which it is intended, I think it would be advisable for the publishers to produce a large-print edition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full of short essays about how one can age gracefully. Great to read on a day when the advantages of aging are not evident. Good book for a significant birthday.
happyharry More than 1 year ago
Although the Gift of Years is directed towards "senior citizens", the reflections are appropriate for people of all ages. It will help to examine whether we are using the time now beneficially. As the saying goes "it is called the "present" because it is a gift." This is book is a gift for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a gift to older folks - as they review the events and decisions of their lives so far... and anticipate the ending of their lives. It will be read and re-read, as life points to certain topics. I treasure this book!
MimiMA More than 1 year ago
Sr. Joan offers so many words of encouragement and challenges to anyone over 50 and thinks it's now a downhill slide. She points out the burdens and benefits to so many aspects of life offering the challenge to be aware and live the benefits/ blessings of our years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
okay
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je40 More than 1 year ago
This is a self help book for the older among us. Several of the ideas were new to me and really helpful - haven't finished it yet but definitely will.
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