Ian Brown is the author of the award-winning The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Search for His Disabled Son and a feature writer for The Globe and Mail. In this diary of his sixtieth year, Brown writes approvingly that "the real discipline of getting older: to force myself to pay attention to details, as if they matter still."

Those Brown's age will easily identify with his concerns about losing his keys and other objects. Much of his time is spent meeting with specialists; he is told by an eye doctor to be on the lookout for glaucoma, and ordered by a skin doctor to wear industrial-strength sunblock with a minimum SPF of 4000. Then there are the everyday problems such as age spots, knee pain, and fallen arches.

A busy writer, Brown labors away at 6 am asking himself some weighty questions: "Most of all I am trying to figure out if what I am writing has any value at all, and why I am doing it. Does it have to feel like terribly hard work for it to mean anything? Is the only meaningful human activity, in fact, struggle?"

Brown digs down under his experiment with growing a beard as a means of looking more grave and more serious — "a beard provides that exclusion, that barrier to intimacy." Sick of feeling like a hermit, he shaves off his beard and thinks positively about it — "Suddenly, three-quarters of the way through my sixty-first year, I don’t mind being seen as I am."

Asking all the right questions and living with the manifold mysteries of the body, the mind, the soul, animals, and the natural world offer entry into the sacred zone of elderhood. Brown at sixty provides plenty of wisdom to digest.