55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Wisdom, honesty and good judgement about how to live longer,
This review is from: The Virtues of Aging (Library of Contemporary Thought) (Hardcover)Our former president has written a tidy little paperback that made the New York Times best-seller list. The title though, makes you wonder: How can there be any virtue in aging? The author thought a lot about "Virtue" in the title too. He had a reason for using the word. It went like this: "Older people have accumulated wisdom, and wisdom is the ability to exercise good judgement about important but uncertain matters in life." He says: "I'm old, but it's good." Tongue-in-cheek, he also points out "It's nicer now that our children have (more nearly) reached our age."
Whatever your politics, you are taken by the honesty, good judgement and inherent wisdom of our former president. It shines through. Writing on democracy, philosopher Lyhman Bryson said: "The purpose of a democratic society is to make great persons...a democratic way" of doing anything is a way that best keeps and develops the intrinsic powers of men and women." And so it has for Mr. Carter. He has a useful message on aging (a process you can't escape; it happens to all of us if we're lucky)...and, as author Carter says: "Consider the alternative."
So when are we old? Each of us is old when we think we are; when we have an attitude of dependency, restricted physical and mental activity We are old when we have severely limited our contacts with others. Surprisingly, this is not particularly related to the number of years we've lived.
As we get older, We should feel that life is expanding, not contracting. It isn't true that health declines as we grow older if we make a conscious effort to maintain a program of diet, exercise, and control over our own affairs, strong ties with others, and a purpose in life. Not long ago, the Carter Center sponsored a health conference attended by 120 worldwide health experts. They concluded that two-thirds of our physical ailments and premature deaths are caused by our lifestyle. They can be delayed or prevented with good health habits.
Here is a summary of their advice:
-Don't smoke -Maintain recommended body weight -Exercise regularly -Don't eat foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat, sugar, salt -Use booze moderately; don't drink and drive -Fasten seat belts -Remove handguns from home -Have regular medical exams & bloodpressure tests.
Two other crucial factors came out: (1) Have a purpose in life (2) maintain quality relationships with others. Take on almost any tasks you find interesting and challenging. Don't be too cautious. Take a chance. If you wait for perfect conditions you will lead a diminished life. So sayeth author Carter. A fast read and well worth your time if you want to hang around for a while.