Â The New Ourselves, Growing Older
Doress-Worters, P. B., & Diana Laskin Siegal. Â
American women face an onslaught of images, remarks, advice, and shame concerning the process of aging. It is little wonder so many approach the forty year mark with dread, as that birthday draws the imaginary line in the sand between youthfulness and becoming old and invisible. What a delight to find a book that celebrates aging, yet does not candy-coat hard issues. In The New Ourselves, Growing Older (Doress-Worters & Diana Laskin Siegal, 1994) the authors manage to compile an impressive array of stories, facts, poetry, resources, and readable topics of concern and interest.Â And while 1994 seems like a while ago, the information remains topical.
This is not a book one sits down to read cover to cover. Instead, it is a comprehensive text delving into the subjects that matter most to women in their forth decade and beyond. Just running a finger down the contents page impresses. Chapters on health, sexuality, financial realities, relationships and loss, bring to light the myriad of choices available. My head spins just thinking about the hours of love and labor that went into this book, but it is indeed a gift.
I adore the photos throughout the text. The women depicted bring dimension and believability to the written word. Every time I glance at the photo by Marianne Gontarz on page 5, I smile. What a beautiful portrait of a woman living every morsel of life! I imagine her to have produced children from her wide hips, and to have endured many storms upon her frail shoulders. Nonetheless, she stands defiant and smiling as she looks straight into the camera lens. â€œSee me!â€ she seems to demand, and I do. I only wish the authors had included subtitles along with the photos. I want to know who the subjects are, and what moves them.
A Valuable Reference For All Women
I cannot imagine that this book would be anything but a valuable resource for individual women or as a reference for professionals working with women.Â The resource section is user-friendly and extensive. Even if phone numbers or addresses have changed since the writing of the book, it would be a great starting point for those with a computer and the ability to â€œGoogle.â€
For my purposes of wanting to help women seeking alternative methods and practitioners, the chapters on health and menopause are great. I felt the authors did a nice job of discussing the menopausal years, and what might be expected. I particularly appreciated their inclusion of using herbs, exercise, hormones, and a section on how other cultures view menopause.Â Americans rely too heavily on insurance plans and western medicine in my humble view. Menopause is not a disease (Menopause: A Portal not a Punishment), but a passage ripe with rewards and a new appreciation for our creative passions as women.
I also browsed the chapters on dying, money, and housing, with a bit of pain. Having experienced my motherâ€™s death via cancer, I wish I had had this book before I stepped into the role of caregiver. It would have offered tips not only on how Mom could cope with the demands and constraints of a terminally ill disease and care situation, but how I could get support for my own wellness during the process.Â I will readily lend my book to friends and family should the need arise in their own relationships.
I have almost no complaints about this amazing endeavor, but I did have some thoughts as I perused the chapters. Is it available in a larger print version for aging eyes, or perhaps offered in an audio version?Â Women are conditioned to take care of everyone but themselves. Would they seek out the resources listed in the book, or would they feel it would be a bother or even shameful to ask for help? Coming from a genetic background of self-reliant farm women, I know how hard it is to admit help is needed.
Most of all, I applaud the tone of the book. Yes, life will be different as we age. Our bodies change, technology changes, family members shift and expand. The New Ourselves, Growing Older says that is how it should be in a full, vibrant life. Breathe in the possibilities, and breathe out the wonder of it all.
Doress-Worters, P. B., & Diana Laskin Siegal. (1994). The New Ourselves, Growing Older. New York: Touchstone.
Leave a Reply