wisdom


A Living Resume

On the occasion of my last birthday, a friend asked how it feels to be growing old? I proffered first, the old bromide that in my head I feelabout thirty, but my body groans a wholly different story. Then I joked that when people intone, “Well, you’re only as old as you feel,” I reflexively […]

Healing from the Death of Loved Ones

This winter, three good friends and four admired colleagues died. As my generation winks out, there is plenty of time at funerals to think about grief and comforting the brokenhearted. It isn’t easy. When death cuts down a life intertwined with mine, I’m depleted. Waves of pain and powerlessness wash over me and weigh me […]

Grandparents and Grandpresidents

Disclaimer: This blog is not an endorsement for Hillary Clinton. Far from it. We don’t even know if she is running for President yet. But we do know that she is projected to be a grandmother. Who knows? Even if she does run, she may run against someone who is also a grandmother or grandfather. […]

Heroes of the Past

When I graduated from Yale in 1952, I began getting the alumni magazine. Our class was the latest in a long list of class notes, the new kids on the block. Most impressive were those at the beginning of the chronological listing. I was amazed by that long list of predecessors, graduates in the 1890s […]

Age and Judgment

I was struck recently by the concluding sentences of an article written by Nathaniel Morris, a Harvard Medical School student. Note his final words. “. . . health care providers must discern when to apply the powerful instruments at their disposal and when to carefully hold back. It often just comes down to clinical judgment, […]

Albert Schweitzer’s Advice about Aging

A friend recently quoted a saying from Albert Schweitzer that was especially meaningful to him as he approached his 70th birthday: The meaning of maturity which we should develop in ourselves is that we should strive always to become simpler, kinder, more honest, more truthful, more peace-loving, more gentle and more compassionate.  This advice captured my […]

Aging Well

My mother will turn 88 in a few weeks. According to the definition of successful aging put forward by Rowe and Kahn nearly 16 years ago, she is aging quite well. Her kidneys, lungs, and heart work fine. She is still very active—she teaches a French class once a week at the local senior center, […]

Surrender at the End of Life

First, the problem “Do not go gentle into that good night… Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” So wrote the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. Working intensively over the past seven years in end-of-life care, I have often seen this attitude as a response by good people to the bad things that are happening […]

Learning from Our Elders

A recent phone call led me to reflect on how over 65ers can help younger folks learn about aging. Three months ago I received a call from Langley Danowitz, daughter of Emily Lublin, a long time patient of mine, who had died in 2000 at age 84. (Langley had seen me quoted in a New York […]

Two Zorbas on Aging

Summer reading recommendations are a feature of many publications. I have two for readers of Over65. For some reason, I didn’t read the novel Zorba the Greek when I was younger. Nor did I see the popular movie or musical based on the book. Fortunately, our book club chose it recently. In retrospect, perhaps it […]