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Learning How to Grow Old Gracefully can Happen at the Library

I wore a trendy little jumper to work the other day with a jaunty black cap and a co-worker complimented me on my outfit, saying I looked “cute.”

I asked my 12 year old daughter - “So, what do you think, can someone approaching 50 still look cute?” Her response? “Sure, Mom, I think old people are cute.”

Aargh, between the hot flashes and the AARP mailings (awfully premature, if you ask me, I am NOT quite 50 yet...) - I have enough reminders of my approaching senility. I don’t need my almost-teenager chiming in... Besides - age (as they say) is “a state of mind” - and the state of my mind is decidedly young.

So if you are feeling a little creaky in your joints or you find yourself enjoying a nap on the couch more than a night out on the town or if you are constantly misplacing your keys - don’t blame it on getting old! Stop fretting and Get a Hobby - Tina Barseghian’s information packed guide gives you 101 different hobbies to explore. It has everything from beachcombing to needlework to growing bonsai.

You Can Do It! - The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-up Girls by Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas will also get you up off the couch. Whether it is running a marathon, trekking to Nepal or learning to sing on stage, this book celebrates your dreams and tells you it is never too late to start! It is all up to you. You, Staying Young: The Owner’s Manual for Extending Your Warranty is just the ticket for fighting the effects of aging. It includes a 14 day plan to help you stay young, along with information about the biological factors in growing old.

If you are still worried about crow’s feet and flabby arms, join the club. We all say I Feel Bad about My Neck along with the comic author Nora Ephron and many of us ask Martha Weinman Lear’s eternal question Where Did I Leave My Glasses? Lear’s aptly-titled book about the what, when, and why of normal memory loss reassures us that a certain amount of forgetfulness in middle-aged folks and the young elderly is normal. It is not necessarily a harbinger of Alzheimer’s. We should also take our cue from the likes of Ben Bradlee, Lena Horne and Carl Reiner, octogenarians who say they have never felt so young. They are featured in 80: Eighty Famous People in Their Eighties Talk about How They Got There and Live There by Gerald Gardner and Jim Bellows.

As we grow older, many of us find that we are becoming Predictably Irrational - Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist argues that human behavior is often anything but rational - that thoughts are not random, but instead are systematic and predictable. Or perhaps you find yourself thinking that your life is Not Quite What I Was Planning? This newly-published illustrated collection of six-word memoirs is alternately humorous, sad, and strange. It includes authors Jonathan Lethem and Richard Ford and comedians Steven Colbert and Amy Sedaris.

Ultimately though it is important to heed the advice of Nobel Prize winner James D. Watson and Avoid Boring People. Watson’s lessons from a life in science include an account of his early work in discovering the structure of DNA along with secrets he has found to getting along in the world. It is a witty and instructive memoir. You can embrace Watson’s teachings and Keep Your Brain Alive with Larry Katz and Manning Rubin’s 83 neurobics exercises designed to increase mental fitness. Start thinking hard today!

But if today is one of the days that you have a brain cramp and you still haven’t found your keys or your missing glasses - have someone drop you by the library and enjoy some of our programs. Upcoming events include a program on financial fitness, lunch box seminars, a poetry slam, a salon-style discussion group and an art reception. Join us! For more information, check out the website at www.chelmsfordlibrary.org

aging, book, books, growing, older

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Thursday, February 28th, 2008 at 5:19 pm and is filed under Books, Column, Reading Room.


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