Fifty and Beyond: New Beginnings in Health and Well-Being
by Susanna Starr
A non-authoritarian approach to fitness and well-being, aimed especially at people approaching and beyond age fifty. An inspiration during a time of mid-life for those who are ready for new beginnings. Clear and insightful suggestions for developing our potential through expanding the mind, caring for the body and celebrating the spirit.
At last, a book for those of us over fifty that does not treat us as if we were children who can’t think for ourselves. Finally, a book that doesn’t scold, threaten, frighten or bully us into making changes. What a relief!
Rather, Starr, in radiantly simple language, as if in a relaxed conversation in our living room, begins by examining with us our attitude toward our bodies and our notions of physical fitness. Together, we look at exercise, proper diet, and supplements that best suit us. Let’s head “toward the next fifty years in as good shape as we can provide,” is advice hard to refute.
Then Starr gets us thinking about new opportunities as some of our tasks, like child-rearing and building careers, become less demanding. She encourages us to remember old dreams and imagine new ones, to revisit the hobbies we never had enough time for, to consider traveling or more community involvement; but, she says, “What’s really there for us now is an opportunity to break old patterns that are no longer fulfilling or satisfying, replacing them instead with those that are positive and enriching and a means to further personal growth.”
As we become whole ourselves, Starr moves the conversation to the next logical step: our connection with the greater whole, the universe. What is more empowering, she wonders, then consciously collaborating and unfolding along with the universe as we move through the seasons of our life.
The richness of the conversation lies in Starr’s warm and compassionate voice. There are no recipes here, no pictures of exercises, no workbook sheets. Thank heavens! Instead, her insights and suggestions are grounded in her own experiences as told through her personal stories, conveying to us that anything discussed in this book is possible to achieve through sincere intention and effort.
The text is also enhanced by quotes from elders of Starr’s community whom she introduces to us in photos and brief biographies in the appendix. These remarkable individuals are invited into the conversation in order for the reader to see “what the future could hold for us as well.”
Eighty-two year old Ann St. John Hawley tells us, “I also like chaos. You have to have some chaos in order to find a new way. Although it’s painful and you feel lost, out of chaos comes some kind of direction or insights – something new emerges.”
How’s this pithy suggestion from seventy-four year old Dale Amburn, “If things are sitting around taking up space, put them in storage.”
This book is a gem! It will make readers of all ages reflect on the meaning, direction, and goal of their lives beyond fifty. It will become a trusted and practical companion as we seek to have and to hold the wisdom our elder years offer us.
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