by Andrea Carlisle
Oregon State University Press, 2023
eISBN: 978-0-87071-258-6 | Paper: 978-0-87071-257-9
Library of Congress Classification PS3553.A717Z46 2023
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.54

Andrea Carlisle isn’t struggling with her new identity as The Old Woman in the ways society seems to think she should. In fact, she is finding her later years to be an extraordinary and interesting time. In trying to understand the discrepancy, she interrogates the sources of negativity in literature, art, and received wisdom that often lead women to dread this transformative time of life. Given the cultural pervasiveness of ill will toward older women, it is small wonder that growing older is not seen as a natural, even desirable, process. Although some elements of aging are hard to reckon with, there is much to make use of and delight in, along with mysteries, surprises, and revelations.

In these personal essays, Carlisle looks for new ways to bring herself more fully to this time of life, such as daily walks with other women and connecting to the natural world that surrounds her houseboat on an Oregon river at the foot of a forest. She writes about experiences shared with many, if not most, older women: wondering at her body’s transformation, discovering new talents, caregiving, facing loss, tuning in to life patterns and drawing strength through understanding them, letting go (or not) of pieces of the past, and facing other changes large and small. Those curious about, approaching, or living in old age will find wisdom and insight in her unique perspective.

In a voice that rings with clarity, humor, humility, Carlisle shows us that Old Age is not another country where we can expect to find The Old Woman grimly waiting, but is instead an expansion of the borders in the country we’re most familiar with: ourselves.

See other books on: 1944- | Aging | Gerontology | Life Stages | Reflections
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