When Did Everybody Else Get So Old? Indignities, Compromises, and the Unexpected Grace of Midlife written by Jennifer Grant and published by Herald Press in 2017.
Perhaps because I’m facing my 60th birthday, the opportunity to review this book drew an immediate “Yes!” from me. I remember when my Mom turned 60. I’m not that old, am I? Many of my friends are turning 60 this year, too. How did this happen to all of us? And, by the way, 60 is the new midlife, right?
Author Jennifer Grant reflects on personally turning 50, but anyone approaching or experiencing midlife – at whatever age you define it – would enjoy and benefit from When Did Everybody Else Get So Old? Each chapter is a stand alone essay about a midlife topic most of us face. Yet, there is also a thread of Grant’s personal story that weaves them all together, accented with a healthy dose of hopeful humor.
Some of the topics tackled include:
- taking stock of one’s life
- teenage children testing their independence
- a crisis of faith
- the death of family and friends
- health issues related to aging
- evolving personal relationships
- comparing oneself to “more successful” friends
- wondering about an afterlife
- chin hair (Yes, chin hair!)
By way of example, here is one of my favorite passages about a midlife reflection on a happy marriage:
And, most of all, we are intentional about being kind. Small acts of courtesy and kindness – bringing the other person a cup of coffee or a glass of water, saying thank you, surreptitiously doing some chore the other one dreads – these have become intrinsic to the way we get through life together. -page 146
Reading When Did Everybody Else Get So Old? made me smile, reflect, wonder and once again appreciate the life I have. I also feel like I’ve found a new friend in Jennifer Grant. Our connection goes deep through shared experiences, though we’ve never met. That’s a real credit to her personal storytelling style. I can’t wait for her next book.
The exploration of the “indignities, compromises and the unexpected grace of midlife” is a worthy exercise. This book is the perfect companion piece to guide us through.
PS: This title would make a terrific book club selection for “women of a certain age”!
Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher at no cost to me. In no other way was the content and opinions in this review influenced.