Archives for posts with tag: Occupying Aging

Since Occupying Aging is an ongoing project, I’m beginning to think about a next book. Could this blog turn into a book? Maybe it would be when I reach seventy and have some profundities to add from that lofty age.

To start the process, I approached the teacher of the editing classes I’d worked with on previous books at the university. She passed me on to the gal who’s teaching it this year. She got excited about having her students’ first real editing project be working on the almost five years of blogs I have so far.

In the last couple weeks I’ve met with ten teams of two students to go over their edits. They all showed up on time, acted like young professionals and had prepared their editing suggestions well. They educated me about Oxford commas, when to write out numbers and when to use numerals, and when to use bulleted lists vs. numbered lists among other arcane topics. I plied them with hot chocolate and Luna allowed them to rub her belly if they really wanted to do so.

Last night I took cookies to their final work session on the project and listened to what they’d learned. One student spoke passionately about being sensitized about disability issues and some follow-up actions on campus she was taking. Another student commented that the most important thing she’d learned through this experience was how to work collaboratively and respectfully with an author.

The teacher said, “students very much appreciate and enjoy having a “real” project like this one, especially when it involves hot chocolate, homemade cookies, and a lovely four-legged helper dog.” Now the students are off for spring break, the teacher is off to grade their edits and I’m off to live life to the full so that by age seventy I’ll have more wisdom to share about Occupying Aging.


Sometimes a “news” story just jumps out and grabs me. For example, Monday’s Huffington Post had an article on Mercury being in retrograde four times in 2016. It explained that Mercury is in charge of communications, so when it’s in retrograde, don’t sign anything, don’t take on new projects, etc.

I’m no big fan of running my life by the planets and stars, but had been thinking about the next phase in my Occupying Aging journey as I prepared for a talk to a church group. I skimmed over ninety books written about aging since I published Occupying Aging to see if anything new had been invented on the subject—not much has! I found four memoirs that are now on top of my must-read list:

  • Fly While You Still Have Wings by Rupp
  • Growing, Older by Gussow
  • Solace by Sojourner
  • Old Age: a Beginner’s Guide by Kinsley

I’m feeling like I’ve achieved maximum benefit possible in some of my volunteer activities and it’s time to back away.  “But what’s next?”  my busy as a beaver self asks.  Perhaps some recharging by reading, but also by listening, laughing and taking a Sabbath from some of the busyness.

Since it’s spring in the Midwest, one of the sound sources I’m listening to these days is the birds. As Emily Dickinson wrote: “Some keep the Sabbath going to Church — I keep it, staying at Home — With a Bobolink for a Chorister — And an Orchard, for a Dome.” Good classical music on public radio renews my soul. Listening to people describe the character of a colleague who died recently reminds me of the power of attentive listening in relationships.

As to humor, life is good at presenting me with that. As I was selling one of my books to a gal after a luncheon where I spoke, Luna stuck her snout into her open purse and almost had the slice of bread the gal was taking home. She didn’t quite get it, but the gal didn’t want it after Luna had breathed on it, so the trash won.

Occasionally those funny e-mails that circulate rise to the guffaw level. A recent one from Richard Johnson’s adult life-long ministry listserv about God’s plan for aging qualifies. In his nine important lessons to remember for aging, number 1 was “Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers. What you do today may be a burning issue tomorrow.”

Sabbath by Dan Allender with its emphasis on spending time reveling in God and his creation will jumpstart me on this next phase of my Occupying Aging journey, I hope.

Stay tuned and don’t be a stranger, okay?