Friday Book Club | Bolder: Making the Most of Our Longer Lives.
Carl Honoré is well-known for tackling both the cult of speed and the cult of youth in his TED talks and his bestselling books, published in 35 languages. He’s a few years younger than me, but he’s quickly becoming my mentor as I’m intuiting our synapses fire together.
His book “In Praise of Slow” is a reminder to me of how impatience - in all parts of life - gets in my way of well-being and a happy life. But, it’s when I cracked-open his newer book, “Bolder: Making the Most of Our Longer Lives,” that I realized we may have been separated at birth. I love that this book is a radical rethink of what it means to age and why it’s more likely a bonus than a burden.
The very idea of growing older can evoke fear, angst, guilt, shame, scorn, even revulsion. We suspect that aging is all about becoming less: less attractive, productive, relevant, happy, creative – maybe even less ourselves. In this immensely readable book, Carl proves nothing could be further from the truth. The weaving of fascinating personal stories from a “Graffiti Granny” to couples who find love later in life mixed with lots of social science research had me nodding “yes!” instead of nodding off. There’s an energetic enthusiasm in this book that is representative of how Carl lives his life as a practicing hockey enthusiast and curious student of life.
He helps remind us that “what will define you in the future, much more than your age, is the choices you make” and that aging is a universal phenomenon we can’t escape. He continues, “What can change is how we age and how we feel about it.” This book has a wide lens covering everything from our bodies to our role in the workplace to our image and romance to the joy of intergenerational connection.
Here are a few facts from around the world that may bring a smile to your face when it comes to aging (or “ageing” as Carl writes it):
- In the EU, healthy life expectancy after the age of 50 is rising more quickly than life expectancy itself, which suggests we are stretching the good years while shrinking the bad bit that often comes before death.
- In 2017, Japan’s Geriatric Society and its Gerontological Society proposed moving the age when someone is deemed “rojin,” or old, from 65 to 75.
- To foster lifelong learning, Singapore now gives money to every citizen over the age of 25 to put towards training or a university course.
I have the honor of co-leading an MEA workshop July 5-10, 2021 with Carl based upon the premise of his book. It will likely fill fast. If you’d like to learn more about it, here's a link to the details of the workshop.