The Wonder of Aging

A New Approach to Embracing Life After Fifty

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The New York Times bestselling author of The Wonder of Boys offers a holistic and uplifting look at the emotional, spiritual, and cognitive dimensions of aging—and how to celebrate life after fifty. The years after fifty are generally discussed in terms of health: what are the physical symptoms that come with advancing age, and what can we do about them? The Wonder of Aging goes beyond these topics to serve as both a spiritual, meditative guide and a practical exploration of the emotional and psychological dimensions of the second half of life. This profound book looks at aging as something positive, life-giving, and miraculous. In his characteristically accessible and moving prose, family therapist Michael Gurian shows how we become elders. The world needs our wisdom, he argues, and he shows us how to develop and share it. Called “the people’s philosopher” for his ability to apply scientific ideas to our ordinary lives, Gurian sees life after fifty as an enormously fruitful, exciting, and fulfilling time. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience as well as anecdotes from his many clients over the last two decades, he goes beyond the physical-centered view of aging to present a new, holistic paradigm that embraces the soul-enriching opportunities of fifty and beyond. The Wonder of Aging divides the second half of life into three stages: the Age of Transformation, from our late forties to around sixty; the Age of Distinction, from sixty to seventy-five; and the Age of Completion, which involves the final stage of our journey. Discussing topics such as sex, how men and women age differently, the effects of aging on the brain, grandparenting, living with purpose, and what to expect in your last chapter, Gurian also provides meditations and exercises to help you design your present and future. Written with Gurian’s courageously optimistic outlook on life, The Wonder of Aging is a comprehensive and comforting road map of what to expect in the second half of your life—and how to celebrate it. The elder years can be a journey into something richer and deeper, full of hope and meaning rather than a sense of fate, and this book gives you the tools to revel in them to the fullest.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476706696 | 
  • June 2013
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Read an Excerpt

The Wounder of Aging Chapter 1 Toward a New Spirit of Aging
In order to come fully to the encounter with whatever gives ultimate meaning, in order to really wrestle with the angel, one must be a free agent, not defined by another, or by cultural imperatives.

—Marilyn Sewell, Cries of the Spirit

In 2011, my research team and I developed three surveys, asking 2,752 people to provide insights about life after fifty. We were basically asking baby boomer subjects to define “a new spirit of... see more

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