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This Is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity
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This Is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  211 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
In this intimate and funny collection of essays on the sometimes confusing, sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious condition of being a woman over sixty, Susan Moon keeps her sense of humor and she keeps her reader fully engaged. Among the pieces she has included here are an essay on the gratitude she feels for her weakening bones; observations on finding herself both an ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Shambhala (first published 2010)
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Peter Landau
Mar 24, 2016 Peter Landau rated it really liked it
One of the only things I do right is get old. Not that there’s a right way to get old, just that no matter what I do I keep aging. It’s one of the few things I’d prefer to fail at, but I guess this is the exception that proves the rule.

When I was young I liked to think of myself as old. I loved the way the elderly dressed and copied their style. I enjoyed the company of those in dementia over the sharpies of youth. Of course, it’s easy to love what you’re not. Once I hit a certain age and my me
Oct 25, 2012 Teresa rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. As some reviews already said, being a collection of essays, some spoke to me more than others. I particularly enjoyed her frankness about it all. Her pieces on becoming an orphan (when her mother died) and coping with depression REALLY spoke to me. As well as the aches and pains, and the worries over it all. If the reader is not a Zen Buddhist, they may find the Zen references too much. But I didn't. The book stands alone, without those bits.

I particularly liked this
Oct 28, 2010 Ellenh rated it it was amazing
Thank you Susan Moon! She who was never going to grow old, has certainly found the words, grace, humor and wisdom to have crafted a wonderful collection of essays on the very subject. I am not a Buddhist, nor do I understand Zen, but I was captivated by Susan's ideas, and her courage to be so honest in her own questions about it. This has joined my favorites list, it was an enjoyable read, but one I put down several times to think. I kept thinking I'd like to meet this woman, I think I'd like he ...more
Oct 18, 2010 GraceAnne rated it liked it
I had a lot of trouble with this. Perhaps because it was too true and real, perhaps because its California Zen author was too different from me although so much was the same. There are two quotes that I took to heart, however.

"There are times in life when nothing helps, when you just have to feel terrible for a while." p130

"Longing is its own satisfaction. It's already complete." p143
Jul 09, 2010 Terra rated it really liked it
This book is written more like a diary that a novel but still entertains with some humerous moments as we can all realate to what it's like when getting old. It's funny how some things you would have cringed at when you were in your teens and twenty's only to find that you can't help but make light of them and share the experiences when olders.

My only drawback was when the author talked vividly about when her mother was ill and passsed away as it brought back memories of my dad and his illness
Sep 20, 2012 Pearl rated it liked it
Apparently many readers liked this book quite a lot. I liked it only a little.

Susan Moon is a good writer; she is a witty writer; and, as her subtitle says, she makes many things about getting old funny. She also seems to suffer more than the average person - old or not - from depression, from loneliness, from a general feeling of isolation, and from an unfulfilled longing for something she cannot identify. There's a void there. Her Zen practices, which she never forsakes but never seems to be f
May 12, 2014 Sooz rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this book and rather want to purchase a couple of extras to give as gifts to other friends. The topic of her essays is very well-suited to where I am in life, and how I want to view life. It left me wanting to learn more, not only about the author, but about "Zen". The word, Zen, gets thrown around quite a lot -- now even in teas at Starbucks -- but I realized that I don't really know exactly what it it a state of mind when you're a Buddhist? ... Or is it a type ...more
Oct 25, 2010 Tim rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book this morning. Several of the essays made me laugh...a greater number made me cry (which probably looked really funny since I was reading most of it while on the recumbent stationary bike).

I know I'm nowhere near the author's age (I'm probably just a wee bit older than her kids if that) but so much of what she talks about in all three sections of the book is what I think about on a daily basis (Mom always said I was 10 going on maybe I'm 40 going on 70 now). I a
Jun 29, 2011 Snap rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2011
THIS IS GETTING OLD: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity by Susan Moon. Susan is a writer and longtime Zen Buddhist who teaches popular writing workshops. This book is a collection of essays on the "sometimes confusing, sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious condition of being a woman over sixty." With chapter titles like "Where Did I Put My Begging Bowl" (those senior moments), "Leaving the Lotus Position" (joints that refuse to work), "The Tomboy Returns" (return to childhood), "Tea ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Moon is just a little bit farther down the road of life than I am, so it helps me a lot to see what’s ahead for me. It’s not a pretty world, the sixties. Falls, for example, are already a problem for me. I’ve already taken several spills in my fifties, all of them embarrassing but, so far, not life-altering. Moon has a whole chapter on falls which might seem tedious to a twenty-something, but is amazing insight to me at fifty-three. Moon also talks about her difficulties with depression and lone ...more
Jul 06, 2010 Lois rated it really liked it
I'm just a few years short of the magic age of 60, so I hesitated before throwing my name in the mix for a chance to win a copy of This is Getting Old on goodreads. Regardless of your age, this is an informative, refreshing, and inciteful read. Each chapter or essay readily relates to an aging life, so reflecting after reading the essays, letting the thoughts and emotions flow,
is almost a necessity. Yes, Susan Moon is a buddhist, but her message is universal. I intend to keep my copy of her boo
This book was a bit different from what I initially expected after reading the reviews but I enjoyed Susan Moon's exploration of her life and aging with all it's varied changes. Some of the story is humorous but more is contemplative, some quite sad as she deals with and seeks to find meaning in the changes we all face. Her point of view is heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism and there were occasional terms that I didn't totally understand, but that didn't really get in the way as the narrative g ...more
Nov 29, 2015 Carole rated it it was ok
I read this one chapter at a time while I was reading other books. I found that on the whole I found the essays pleasant, but not incredibly engrossing, except for "I Wasn't My Self", which I found resonated on many levels with me. Certainly the issues that she writes about will confront most of us in one form or another, but I do think there are more interesting books about aging and its issues...Kent Haruf's "Our Souls at Night", Colum McCann's "Thirteen Ways of Looking". I kept expecting to f ...more
Looked this over to see if it would be a good book for a relative and was disappointed it had so many words. They are only short essays but I sort of was hoping for pithy on-page insights and I found several page essays on really depressing aspects of getting old...falling down, not begin able to open jars, etc. We don't even like to think about those things, let alone read about them. Another reminder, if we ever needed one, to read the book first before you give it as a gift. Not a favorite.
Jul 16, 2012 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the first part of the book the author shares some of the joys and frustrations of growing older and some "zen" thoughts on how to accommodate to the changes. Gradually the books morphs into an autobiography of her life as a sixty-something live-alone woman with a dying mother. While the autobiographical section brings up life issues of aging parents, being alone, etc., there is a decided change to the book's tone. While autobiography is fine, I certainly got more benefit from the first part o ...more
Apr 09, 2012 Barb rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism
A gently reassuring collection of essays. The author is older than I am (only about 10 years or so), but I can see there from here. The topics she covers -- physical infirmities, forgetfulness, depression, loneliness, the illness and death of parents and loved ones -- sounds horribly depressing, but she treats each one with humor and compassion. Highly recommended for anyone in their 50's and up, or who have aging parents.
Jul 08, 2010 Landi rated it really liked it
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read! I loved the humor and grace in the way that Susan Moon discusses so many issues and concerns that we all have about growing older. I also really enjoyed the Zen aspects to many of the chapters -- how she would describe an incident, problem or whatever and then flip the whole thing around and look at it from a completely different angle. This book can be enjoyed by anyone - whether they are Buddhist or not. I would suggest this books for my friends.
Sep 15, 2014 Bron rated it liked it
Not sure what I expected from this book, someone older and wiser to tell me how to cope with the next stage of my life maybe. Instead I find someone who seems to be my own age already complaining about feeling frail! But I persevered and found we shared some life experiences and thoughts, although in other ways her life has been very different from mine. All in all, it seems to tell us more about being human at any age.
Apr 11, 2011 Chade66 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zen, read-2011
It might seem odd or premature to read a book written about aging when I'm only in my 40s (though late 40s!) but considering that my aging mother lives with me, I was looking for insight.

If you are a member of the sandwich or club generation (caught between children and aging parents) you might take a look at this book.
Dec 17, 2015 E rated it it was ok
DNF. The writing is pleasant enough, and I can definitely identify with some of the aging issues, but there wasn't much in here that I could find useful. I guess I was looking for more application of Zen philosophy to the aging process rather than just personal stories of the author's aging struggles.
Mar 10, 2013 Pam rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Susan Moon's thoughts on aging. Our experiences and lives are very different and while reading I sometimes didn't feel a strong connection to what she was saying, however while teaching and working with clients I found myself quoting her and referring to her writings. i think her thoughts helped me relate to the aging of others in a way that is helping my teaching. Thanks Susan
Aug 20, 2010 Sally rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this honest, well-written, well-observed look at growing old. It's above all a personal view - no stereotyped, academic or canned material - and so it rings true. No need to be into Zen either!
Ellie Revert
Jun 25, 2010 Ellie Revert rated it it was ok
Just won this book--my first win and I am delighted with the whole idea!

Now I've read it. She has some great and funny ideas--thought provoking on occasion, but a bit too much navel-gazing for me.
Apr 10, 2015 Deborah rated it really liked it
I liked this book a lot. It was easy to read in chunks, and I related to many of the author's reflections on aging. She weaves a lot of her Zen Buddhist practice into it, and I didn't enjoy that as much, but it wasn't overdone.
Harriet Roll
Jan 25, 2015 Harriet Roll rated it really liked it
Well worth reading if wondering about joys, challenges and changes in our 7th and 8th decades. Wonderful reflections on past experiences and how they shaped the author. Down to earth discussion on benefits and limitations of medication practice.,,
Jul 15, 2010 Susan is currently reading it
This is a GREAT book. I'm reading it off and on. You can read a chapter and put it down. Each chapter is a complete story. You need not even read them in order. It is so perfectly on target I am sure I will read this book many times before I put it away for good.
Jan 26, 2011 Paulette rated it it was amazing
I liked the author immediately. She has her address book by first names in case she forgets someone's current last name. That's the how and why of my cell phone address book! I recommend this for "young" "old" people - in their sixties.
Susan Rothenberg
Jun 16, 2016 Susan Rothenberg rated it really liked it
A thoughtful, both serious and humorous book about getting older with the author describing both her thoughts about her life and aging issues, as well as some of the ways she uses thoughtfulness, humor and a Buddhism to age as well as possible.
Jun 26, 2010 Eileen rated it really liked it
Won this on first reads. A humorous, philosophical book of essays from a Zen point of view on aging, this book had me giggling and nodding in agreement many times. Thanks, Good Reads and Shambhala Publications for the opportunity to read this enlightening book.
Dec 22, 2014 Denise rated it liked it
Skimmed this book lent to me by a friend. I especially liked her discussions of "deep time", something I never seem to get to at all. Her experience during a month in the woods in the little cabin by herself was thought-provoking, too.
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“Hiding inside this well-meaning phrase is a deep cultural assumption that old is bad and young is good.” 0 likes
“But even the venerable Zen teacher Robert Aitken Roshi, in an interview about being old—he was in his eighties at the time—admitted with a laugh, “I often feel like a young person who has something wrong with me.” It” 0 likes
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