Introduction to my book titled: Joy of Aging, A Blessing in Disguise.

What is it that ignites a person’s spirit so that they are living a life they love and loving the life they live? In search of the answer to that question, I looked first to the people in my life. My parents were both 45 years old when I was born. Both always seemed to have an abundance of energy and were consistently able to accomplish things that would seem reserved for people half their age.

What causes some to flourish while others struggle? I was determined to discover the mystery, and after my own parents passed on, I started asking the elders around me to tell me their stories. I discovered a set of shared characteristics that manifest in different forms but emerge as consistent themes in a fulfilling life. These themes are illustrated in the amazing stories of the 12 people featured in this book.

These are the people who others enjoy being around. You may not notice them coming into a room, yet the atmosphere of the room changes because of their presence. They consider their lives successful, but they are generally too humble to talk much about themselves unless invited. They showed me the Joy of Aging and the blessings that are a vital part of the aging process.

Without exception, I walked away from each interview in awe and feeling inspired. I was overcome with a deep sense of joy, knowing that I, too, could access peace in my heart and look forward to a long, vivacious life by following their example. I questioned my friend Jo Barnes, “Jo, you just say yes to life don’t you?” Jo, without hesitation replied, “Yes I do!”

If you are ready to transition out of life as you have always known it and find the juiciness life has to offer, these stories will give you a peek into what is possible as you enter a new stage.

The stories were collected from people, 80 years old and older, who are in the reflection cycle of their lives. Telling their stories has enabled them to reflect and celebrate their lives and the events that shaped them.

I discovered when I compiled these stories a common thread that tied them all together. Each one of those I interviewed spent a lifetime making the most out of what they had and were more focused on living authentically than seeking joy. I learned that joy is elusive when we chase it, but is always present when we live our lives authentically.

The common theme that runs throughout each story is of people who built amazing lives from a pure belief in themselves, a deeply ingrained sense of self-reliance and an ability to let go of the past and move on. Without exception, everyone I interviewed had reverent memories of grandparents or parents or other elders in their lives who exemplified these traits. It is my deepest wish that these narrative sketches will ignite your own search, and you will seek out the elders in your life and ask them to share with you their stories. I hope Joy of Aging will inspire you as I have been inspired and bring you to a sense of profound peace, deep appreciation, and joyful anticipation of the years to come.