Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully” as Want to Read:
The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,190 ratings  ·  181 reviews
Not only accepting but celebrating getting old, this inspirational and illuminating work looks at the many facets of the aging process, from purposes and challenges to struggles and surprises.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by BlueBridge (first published January 1st 2008)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,190 ratings  ·  181 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully
Oct 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Steve by: Speaking of Faith on PBS
Shelves: icpl
I got interested in reading something by Joan Chittister after hearing her interviewed by Speaking of Faith's Krista Tippet. I have listened to a lot of interviews on SOF and Joan Chittister's really resonated with me. Joan Chittister is a Benedictine sister who was voted the most inspirational woman alive in a 2007 survey.

This book was valuable to me for devotional reading since it contains almost 40 short chapters (3-4 pages)on different topics relevant to those of us who are becoming the olde
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
This book is a series of meditative essays on the nature of life after the shift from being an active working adult into becoming an elder. At first the essays seemed soporific. After falling asleep twice while reading I thought I might prefer them one at a time in a small study group setting or in a weekly newsletter (Chittister supplies one via an email subscription). But then I found myself transformed by their substance. Each essay explores a state of being such as "Joy," "Learning," or "Mys ...more
The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully is by one of my very favorite spiritual writers (and role models in faith and living), Joan D. Chittister. The book consists of essays about the spirituality of living longer, of aging, and the spiritual risks and gifts offered. The book does not need to be read chronologically, but invites the reader to pick and choose what best addresses her needs or interests at that moment. Nor does it seem that this is a book meant to be read once. For me, it will ...more
Ronald Vasicek
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
She says the same thing over and over.
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Had I read this book at 30, I would have found it wise: proverbs for full living. But at 66, it is profound. Chittister hits all the powerful truth of aging. Yet it is not brutal nor caustic. For those of us who are aware there is a lot more sand in the bottom of the hour glass than the top, she speaks of the mellow and sweet realities in equal fashion to the painful and the lost promise. The book is both marvel and joy; prophetic and comfort.

It is a spiritually centered book written by a Christ
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book of essays by the good Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. I think I counted 42. My book group started it a year ago, appreciated it. But I kept reading the essays, savoring them. I have been recommending the book to colleagues and friends who have or are soon to retire. I have it on my Kindle and will go back and start the essays again. They absolutely feed my soul and help me make sense about this wonderful stage of life called retirement.
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was, indeed, a gift...a gift of focus, positive thinking, reframing, reflection...on the realities of aging. Joan Chittister is a gifted thinker and writer; she uses this gift in a beautiful collection of inspirational reflections that focus on many aspects of aging, including the potential and joys.

Truly appreciated the thinking, the writing, the reminders.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Not just a book. A beautiful guide to living a graceful & full life. It will be on my bedside from now on to remind me to appreciate every moment.
First, a disclaimer. I have a "spiritual" bent but am not at all religious and I'm definitely disinterested in the role of God (or god) in life or death. This book was written by a progressive/liberal nun (like me, except for the nun part); but knowing her openness, I decided to read it and hope it wasn't too heavy on religion. That was a good call.

I'd recommended it to my book group who is reading it but hasn't yet met to discuss the entire book. So while I can't speak to how they responded, I
Dawn Lennon
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Aging is inevitable, but understanding the essence of it seems elusive. There are books on growing up, being an adolescent, a young adult, a middle-ager, but little on understanding life as we age, all those years past 65. Sure, we can read books about all the ailments, mental decline, and life in institutions, but little on how to understand what our lives have meant and what to do with all the understanding and awareness that living those years brings. When a friend recommended, The Gift of Ye ...more
Janet C-B
I received this book as a birthday gift from my husband on the occasion of a milestone birthday. The book is a series of about 40 essays, each 4-5 pages, on a range of topics including Possibility, Fulfillment, Learning, Letting Go, Freedom, Forgiveness and Legacy. I read the essays over a period of 2 weeks, in no particular order. While the book is categorized as Christian spirituality, I think it could be helpful for people of a range of religious backgrounds, including no religious affiliatio ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Rating is really 3.5.

I benefited from reading this book through one of the first chapters, "Regret." I had been mired in regret about my own life choices to the point where I had stopped a lot of any life with juice in it in the present. It was good to read in print how regret could be a "sand trap of the soul" and quick road to depression masquerading as wisdom.

The rest of the chapters had a sameness to them for me, though I'm sure that, as with the Regret chapter for me, reading them at the r
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are growing older, this is a good book. If you are not, then you are dead. The book is probably written more for readers in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s… However, I think it would be excellent for adults of all ages. It provides a good understanding of the feelings and adjustments of growing old. Thus, it’s a benefit for old and less old readers. At times, it can be depressing but it is also instructive and motivational.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is one of the few books I will keep to re-read. The chapters are short with easy to read print. The message is upbeat and practical and not maudlin. The author is one of those American nuns who are currently being investigated by the Vatican. The theme of the book is to make the most of what is left and to view aging as a gift. The past is gone. Look to the future and relish the prospect.
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a great devotional style book that deals with 2nd-Half-of-Life spirituality. There is a spiritual purpose in aging. In aging we learn many lessons. As we grow older we can grow bitter or better. Trying to maintain control is a sure way to become bitter. Learning to trust the process and learn from the gift of life is the Way we become better.

"Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." ~2 Corinthians 4:16
Nancy Jurss
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting read reminding people that life is not over after retirement. The author herself is 81 years old, an author of 50+ books, co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, continues to speak and lecture all over the world, and currently organizing an educational cruise to Cuba. While we can't all be that accomplished, she reminds us that we should continue to embrace change instead of fighting it, and that old age can be a time of learning, teaching, and growth. ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I recently reached the age of 70, I thought - perhaps I need a spiritual approach to aging...and I found this book. It raised my awareness of my ability to change how I feel about is a journey, an exciting one filled with possibility. I could choose to think with negativity and with fear. Instead, my reality can thrive in new seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling of my NOW.
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Another profound book by one of my absolute favorite spiritual leaders--Sister Joan. The book is a must read for anyone 60 and older!! It is a true blessing and opens one's eyes to wisdom as an elder! ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book on aging. It is challenging and yet inspirational. The writer was about my age when she wrote it, so perhaps that is why it speaks to me so much. It's certainly a good one to read if you need a kick in the pants to do something with your "golden years" besides vegetate! ...more
Ellen Campbell
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Filled with wisdom, this book is one that I know I shall return to and refer to for many years. Easy to read by nibbling on it as chapters or seek to digest it as the whole, Joan Chittister takes on aging in a wise and gentle way. Important reading for anyone over 65!
Terry Webb
Jul 01, 2012 rated it liked it
liked the Monastery of the Heart better
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved how she brought things together with a "burden" and a "blessing" throughout the book. ...more
Jean Marie Angelo
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I rarely re-read books, but I will make an exception for this one. I will also be sending it as a gift to family and friends. Some years ago I could see 60 on the horizon, and it was terrifying. I did everything to deny that I was getting older. Then I convinced myself that age didn’t matter as long as I was, “young,” in attitude and action. This book was a gift from a dear friend when I turned 60. I let it sit on the shelf a while. But once I started, I was pulled in by Sister Joan’s gentle pro ...more
Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a book club selection. I read the chapters out of order because the author said I could. I loved how she opened each chapter's theme with an appropriate quotation. I argued with her assumptions half of the time and agreed with her the other half, so it was thought provoking. My disconnect with her ideas was probably spawned by my unconventional life compared with her assumptions about her readers. ...more
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
3.5 stars
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars. A lovely, thoughtful book, meant to be savored. A series of short essays on different aspects of aging. It's not a page-turner; it's the kind of book that you pick up and read a chapter or two at a time. Will make you look forward to the "golden years" with hope and positive expectations. ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
My husband and I read this book as part of a book study through our church and the timing could not have been better as we are preparing to retire (or at least in my case, take an extended travel sabbatical). Warning: this review will probably be rambling and took me longer to write than any other review, while at the same time, I know I have not expressed all of my thoughts about this book!
Through a series of chapters and reflections (ageism, transformation, accomplishment, adjustment, regret,
This book contains lots of good food for thought and I appreciated the author's insights. But it was very repetitive, essentially saying the same things over and over in each chapter. Although "spiritual" in tone, the theology was very self-focused and universalistic, rather than orthodox. ...more
Nov 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ccs-book-club
1.5 stars. LOL - an entirely secular book (written by a UN "spiritual" expert) framed as spiritual devotional reading.

I have been resisting writing book reviews lately and now I have 3 books piled up on my nightstand that need to be reviewed and returned to the library. So, here goes...

This was my least favorite book in the bunch. It was assigned reading for a new bookclub.

Granted I am not the target audience - as I am in my late-30s. However, I have always been fascinated by end of life spirit
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Sr. Joan is a gifted writer who has chosen witty quotes to commence each short essay (there are 40). At some point, these became repetitive. Our small group should have been a natural audience (60+), but in the end the book left many feeling older than our current outlooks on life.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For and Believe
  • Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
  • All the Way to Heaven
  • The Hero's Walk
  • Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
  • The Bible: A Biography
  • Code Name God: The Spiritual Odyssey of a Man of Science
  • Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment
  • The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine
  • The Likely Resolutions of Oliver Clock
  • What Are You Going Through
  • Becoming Better Grownups: Rediscovering What Matters and Remembering How to Fly
  • On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old
  • Perestroika in Paris
  • The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future
  • Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age
  • Apeirogon
  • Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others
See similar books…

Related Articles

  Luvvie Ajayi Jones—author, cultural critic, digital entrepreneur—might be best described as a professional truthteller. Her crazily popular...
48 likes · 0 comments
“We don't change as we get older - we just get to be more of what we've always been.” 17 likes
“Life is not about age, about the length of years we manage to eke out of it. It is about aging, about living into the values offered in every stage of life. As E. M. Forster wrote, “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” 4 likes
More quotes…