I am impressed with Jo Ann Jenkins, the CEO of AARP. She is a quite an accomplished lady, and in 2016 she published a book called, Disrupt Aging, which every person over fifty might want to read. I recently finished it and wanted to share it with you. Now, you might be thinking, well of course, she is at AARP—you know, that organization for old people, and so she is going to say positive things about aging. My acknowledgement of her timely and pitch-perfect contribution to the conversation, from a gerontological perspective, comes from her wisdom in sharing information on aging that we all need to know, but that the press has practically ignored. Of all the statements in this very readable book, this one stood out as spot on:
Finally, we must change the way we view ourselves and our inner lives from age as decline to aging as continuous growth. Many older people feel cast aside. Instead, it’s important that they develop a sense of purpose and positive self-image. The goal is to gain confidence in navigating life transitions – and see ourselves as an integral part of society – rather than being isolated from society.
She hits the right note, as Disrupt Aging ranks #1 on Amazon in the Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Gerontology category. Her book covers some of the important sociological areas we gerontologists look at: guiding one through the healthcare system, discussing “not outliving your money,” and choosing where you live in the last few chapters of life. These rank as key elements of living a good life and getting older with joy. I particularly liked her re-framing the discussion about getting older and what that means; something I have touched on in past blogs, and will revisit time and again until “ageism” becomes an antiquated term from a former time in history.
Her discussion of a second career, and the many mid-lifers who have chosen and continue to choose a 2.0 version of themselves, spoke directly to my choice of completely shifting gears at mid-life and becoming a gerontologist. I loved interior design, but felt I wanted to help others in a more tangible way. Blessed with great health and energy, and the belief I could reinvent my life, (remembering you always have the power to re-choose), I wanted to give back to the world in gratitude for all I have been given, to pay forward my good fortune. And, I had to do something with all that energy and find a way to utilize the database I had built up over a lifetime of study about health. Also, I think my husband was getting a little tired of me reorganizing the kitchen cabinets and drawers every few months!
We are coming on summer very soon, and even if life is going great in all corners of your world, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of Jo Ann’s book, and see what resonates for you. You never know, you could decide to change careers while lying in that hammock, and the world will be a better place for it!
Until next time…Be Vibrant!