This Is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity

This Is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity

by Susan Moon
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In this intimate and funny collection of essays on the sometimes confusing, sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious condition of being a woman over sixty, Susan Moon keeps her sense of humor and she keeps her reader fully engaged. Among the pieces she has included here are an essay on the gratitude she feels for her weakening bones; observations on finding herself

Overview

In this intimate and funny collection of essays on the sometimes confusing, sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious condition of being a woman over sixty, Susan Moon keeps her sense of humor and she keeps her reader fully engaged. Among the pieces she has included here are an essay on the gratitude she feels for her weakening bones; observations on finding herself both an orphan and a matriarch following the death of her mother; musings on her tendency to regret the past; thoughts on how not to be afraid of loneliness; appreciation for the inner tomboy; and celebratory advice on how to regard "senior moments" as opportunities to be in the here and now.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her mid-60s, Bay Area Zen practitioner Moon, former editor of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s Turning Wheel magazine, writes, “I wanted to look right into the face of oldness. What is it?” Gentle essays are grouped into three sections: mind/body, relationships, and spirit. Moon uses detail vividly in her determination to make peace with the many failures of brain and body (from forgetting her Social Security number to wondering if she’ll ever have sex again), though not all readers may want to follow her into the intricacies of retinal detachment and an elderly mother on a ventilator. Her best writing occurs when memory, emotion, and spirit coalesce as she recovers parts of herself left behind in childhood or comes to terms with solitude. Overall, the book is long on dignity but a bit short on both Zen and humor, focusing on earnest self-disclosure. But Moon’s honesty about the inner and outer realities of aging conveys an urgent reminder of inevitable loss; indeed, as she reminds us, “I am not getting old alone.” (June)
From the Publisher
“Moon is like a Buddhist Anne Lamott—confronting her life bravely and unapologetically. Reading as a man in his mid-sixties, [I] welcomed her honest ambivalence about aging. Her style is conversational yet often beautifully vivid and clear.”— New York Journal of Books

 “A funny, honest, and deeply personal book.  This collection of confessional essays makes for absorbing reading.”—Mandala magazine

“Refreshingly honest and enlightening. In this sterling collection of essays, Susan Moon looks at the rewards, blessings, drawbacks, and challenges of aging.  We are so grateful that Moon has written this insightful book in which she passes on what all this has meant to her.”—Spirituality & Practice

“Gentle essays . . . long on dignity.  Moon uses detail vividly in her determination to make peace with the many failures of brain and body (from forgetting her Social Security number to wondering if she’ll ever have sex again). Her best writing occurs when memory, emotion, and spirit coalesce as she recovers parts of herself left behind in childhood or comes to terms with solitude.”—Publishers Weekly

“Moon shares stories of her journey, providing on each page the deep intimacy experienced with an old friend over a cup of tea, the kind that satisfies and leaves you wanting more.  She plunges below the surface to explore grief, depression, loneliness, and peace, without losing her characteristic wry humor and infectious delight.  And in the process, her stories become our stories.”—Turning Wheel (The Buddhist Peace Fellowship) 

“[Moon] does not shy away from any aspect of aging, from sore knees to foggy memory, but also maintains a sassy sense of humor.  Perhaps if more people were as open about aging as Moon is, we shouldn’t all be so uncomfortable with the idea. This is a great read for anyone pondering the future.”— Sacramento Book Review

“This is a book about aging, but it’s not at all depressing.  Susan Moon is a very funny lady.  Moon shows us aging in a breathtakingly honest way.  I found that I liked her more and more as the book unfolded.  This Is Getting Old is beautiful, warm . . . existential.”—Wildmind.org

“Moon’s stories are wonderful companions and guides as I go about my ordinary life.”—Maxine Hong Kingston

“Aging is the biggest issue facing me and everyone I know. This book is poignant, funny, and spot-on, and I am tremendously grateful to Susan Moon for writing it. I love this book!”—Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness Is an Inside Job

"This Is Getting Old is a sweet, mellow, funny, wise, sad, and deeply affecting book. Susan Moon's essays are so disarmingly honest, so personal and plain, that they will make you forget what an astonishingly rare and profound achievement this is."—Norman Fischer, author of Sailing Home and Taking Our Places

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780834823068
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
08/02/2011
Series:
Shambhala Publications
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
586,039
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

The first of what I think of as my age-related falls happened because I was engaging in behavior that was not age-appropriate. It was a gorgeous summer day, and I was riding on a narrow bike path behind my ten-year-old niece, who was out of sight. I’m not too old to ride a bike, but I felt suddenly compelled to ride “no hands” as I used to do when I was a girl of ten. You’re only as old as you feel! Aren’t they always telling you that? The carefree breeze caressed my hair and the warblers sang for me in the bushes, until my wheel slipped on some gravel at a curve in the path and down I went, skinning my knees, hands, and elbows. Wheeling my bike, I limped to where my niece waited for me at a fork in the path. “My God! What happened to you?” she exclaimed.


“Pride goeth before a fall,” I told her. I have given up riding “no hands” for the rest of my life—one more age-related loss. At least this one is easy to live with.


As I get older the ground seems to get farther and farther away and it takes longer for my brain to get the signals to my feet, and vice versa. Sometimes when I first get out of bed in the morning I stumble against the doorframe on my way to the bathroom. My body used to take care of ordinary things like walking on its own without adult supervision; now I have to think about picking up my feet.


I’ve been watching a friend’s ten-month-old learn to walk. She holds on to the coffee table and walks herself along its edge, and then she takes the great plunge, let's go, and steps out across space, two full steps to the edge of the sofa! Triumph! As for me, I’m moving in the opposite direction. Some day the people in the room may clap for me, too, as I let go of the edge of the kitchen table and take the bold step across space to the kitchen counter.


Meet the Author

Susan Moon is a writer and longtime Zen Buddhist who teaches popular writing workshops, mostly in California. She is the former editor of Turning Wheel: The Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >