Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman is a spiritual leader, social innovator, and scholar known for her work on Judiasm and Aging. She offers training, consulting, and spiritual guidance through Growing Older (www.growingolder.co), her Philadelphia-based national practice. She opens this book with a quotation from Connie Goldman:
"The challenge of aging isn't to stay young; it's not only to grow old, but to grow whole — to come into your own."
Instead of meeting this post-midlife period of life with fear and trembling, we can grow older with the wisdom that makes aging a time of transformation and renewal. What are the ingredients of wisdom? Psychologists Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman identify five markers: creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, and perspective.
These character qualities help keep us going in the face of loss, limits, change, and disappointment. In chapters on the broken heart, embracing our mortality, dealing with physical decline and illness, caring for our fragile dear ones, and making sense of dementia's brokenness, Friedman includes blessings, which are bearers of gratitude that can help us cope with and carry these burdens.
She treasures the Jewish perspective which enables us to find the sweetness in the midst of suffering, liberation through forgiveness, and the value of spending our precious time mindfully. The last section of this captivating guide contains Friedman's thoughts on answering the call to conscious aging and suggestions for developing a blessing practice (saying, sending, and offering them).