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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

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  274 ratings  ·  67 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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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  274 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Peter Landau
Mar 18, 2016 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 22, 2012 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
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
Oct 28, 2010 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
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.
Sep 30, 2010 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
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This. Is. Wonderful.

I found this book via an offer from Amazon deals and as I was approaching my 70th birthday, decided to buy it. I’m glad I did.

Ms. Moon has written a book that covers the gamut of experiences, thoughts, and feelings about being an aging woman. It’s constructed as a series of essays, every one of which had a nugget of meaning in it. She is a terrific writer, able to provide vivid descriptions of people, places and events that pull you right into her essay.

She and I are very
Jerry Wall
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Zen practitioner of 4 decades tells us of insights on aging.
Wabi-sabi" is a Japanese expression for the beauty of impermanence. p. xii
The thief let it behind. / the moon / at my window. p. 137
Why was there only one small self inside my head, serving a life sentence in the solitary confinement of my skull, looking out of my eye sockets? It didn't make sense. p. 140
"Hello, longing. I know you." p. 143
"FOMS Syndrome" fear of missing something. p. 155
I can't be in more than one place at a time, but
Debbie Lisman
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charming, tender, and very real.

Wonderful book! I laughed, and I cried as I read this. My 65th birthday is in just a few short weeks. I just received my ‘acceptance’ letter for Medicare...

This book is tender, compassionate, and at the same time quite funny, as it tells the story of a woman moving into her last third of her life. Everyday life continues, but from a different perspective now. I highly recommend this to others just moving into their ‘Medicare’ years...
Barbara P
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a joy to read this book, a first hand glimpse from someone aging like me. Her writing is light and times humorous without the gloom of getting older. She doesn't skirt around aging reality but shares her very personal experiences with humor and dignity. Was a delight reading her writing and
made me grateful aging is natural, even if I would prefer that time not go by so quickly.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enlightening, amusing, engaging. Very well-written. Lots of quotable sentences. A smart woman who has spent to much time wondering why she is single, and lots of time on the reasons her life is full and rich. I found it more agreeable in small doses.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It took me a while to read this book as I kept putting it down. I expected to relate more than I did to her tales on aging but for the most part it seemed she was adopting a physical age far older than her 65 years.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I need a zen approach to aging. This had humor, felt familiar, and gave me perspective.
Peggy Thomson
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Liked it a lot at the beginning, not as much near the end. Part of this was probably my issues, but I think it may have fizzled, as well.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: aging
slow but somewhat interesting
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This definitely spoke to me at many levels. Well worth it on many levels. Of course, I am older, single, and female but it is nice to know that I am not the only one.
Apr 28, 2010 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 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 06, 2014 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
Sep 30, 2010 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 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
Ginger Essink
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written, a lovely read at just turning 70...
May 26, 2010 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 05, 2015 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
Jul 09, 2012 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 07, 2012 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.
Jun 13, 2010 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 06, 2014 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 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011, zen
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.
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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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