The Adventures and Dreams of Older Americans
by Brendan Hare (2015 -Joppa Flats Publishing)
Book Review by Denis Wuestman
You will find this retirement book is less about retirement than it is about the experiences of growing older. The author, Brendan Hare, like many of us was anxious about his own retirement and was unable to picture what his life after would be retirement would be like. Brendan’s journey of discovery took him to interview over 40 people from all walks of life as he listened to and learned from their experiences of growing older and it helped him answer many questions for himself as it will for you. It is in these interviews (many of whom you know and all of whom you wish you did) that one is able to walk in the shoes of what is perhaps, yet to come, for many of us.
The short stories are categorized in themes which help show the diversity of aging experiences in an easy to read format. Through these stories you will also see how the themes helped shape each person become who they are. Some themes have remained consistent or shifted based on life experiences and paths chosen. They are:
- The Long View
The reader gets to experience the story teller’s unique life history and views of aging. I found the history part most interesting as understanding the backgrounds of each individual and what got them to this point in their lives provided their own life lessons.
Because each story will impact us all differently, our takeaways will be unique. While each one of these had a lesson, it was through “story-telling” that the reader is easily engaged and drawn into the personal lives of these people. Everyone loves a good story – there are over 40 of them in this book. I thought of some of my own aging relatives, most no longer with us, and wondered how they would have told their story about living and growing older if they took the opportunity.
First – I recommend buying this book on retirement for yourself or to give it as a gift.
Secondly, in our podcast with author Brendan Hare we asked him what advice he might give to someone who wants to transition from working to wisdom. Among Brendan’s suggestions, he recommends leveraging the power of storytelling and consider writing your own short story to help you understand who you are and what you have become. Include how you want to be remembered and then take steps to become that person.
This can be an important way to move forward and live life fully and engaged. There is no rush – do it at your own pace. It can help you to reflect, gain clarity and develop awareness as to what aging means to you as you engage on this exciting journey. This retirement book can give you a head start.
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