Here, Have A Cookie. In Fact, Take Two
Book Review: 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, by Karl Pillemer, Ph.D
Now before you tune out because the title sounds sanctimonious or dull- let me ask you, do you love your grandmother? Did you enjoy your granddad’s stories? There’s a lot of wisdom accumulated along with all those years. And if you didn’t have grandparents that you WANTED to learn anything from, don’t you wish you did?! Well, this book is your chance to meet those people and it’s a lovely, gently inspiring read.
In fact, it would be a great book to read together as a family or couple. It’s like sitting down with that grandmother from the Matrix- by the end, you’ll have eaten that cookie and will feel wiser and more content. Who knows, with this new-found serenity, perhaps you will go fight the villainous forces in your life- greed, distraction, the hectic pace of life, and whatever else pulls you away from the things that matter. Family, friends, relationships, the beauty of the world we live in.
30 Lessons is written by Karl Pillemer, a highly regarded gerontologist and is the distillation of interviews with more than 1,000 people 70 – 100+ years old (so, yeah 10,000 years of wisdom- BAM!). Think of the times they have lived through- these are folks who were in WWII, lived through the depression, the invention of computers, the effects and eradication of devastating disease, the fight for equality for women and African Americans, and many other historic events. It stands to reason that as they approach the sunset of their lives, they have some pretty insightful things to share with those of us hacking away at the dense jungle of mid-life.
These life lessons offer nothing earth-shaking, rather it feels like the kind of things you know you “should” do, but sometimes forget or get too caught up to do- and because the advice is delivered by folks who have been through it, it has a depth and resonance that is impactful. The lessons cover everything from love, work, kids, aging, friends, personal values and faith. Whether you are recently graduated from high school or are in your sixties there is something in this that you’ll enjoy. And if you are old enough to be interviewed for the book- how about you read this, append it with your own notes, and send it or discuss it with your family? I know they’ll enjoy your thoughts and benefit from them.
My favorite part of the book, is how much all these folks are ENJOYING their later years- how much opportunity they see to learn and do new things, or just to take time to appreciate the simple pleasures in life. We could use more positive messages about aging- if we are lucky, it will happen to all of us, so we might as well get the most out of it. Now, I’m off to make my dad’s divine chocolate chip cookies… guess I’m just in the mood for them.
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