What's it like to grow older? More than eighty American women from across the nation, aged middle 50s through late 90s, offer thoughtful insights on many aspects of advancing in years--the ups as well as some downs, joys along with sorrows, happy memories from the past plus contentment with much of the present. Life is worth living, they agree, even as relationships, health, and responsibilities may change. Lessons learned through a lifetime can enrich one's later years; talents and wisdom gained from experience can be blessings to others as well. Attitude is the key, they say, and at every age one may choose how to live during the time ahead.
PEARLS addresses practical everyday realities as well as major issues, such as: How can you stay mentally alive as your situation changes? How do you make new friends, especially if you relocate? How important is your appearance to you as time goes by? How do you feel about silence and solitude? What do you do with the "stuff" in your life? What did you once worry about that didn't happen? Did you have mentors when you were younger, and can you now be one to others? Readers are encouraged to note their own responses to the questions raised--and to discuss them with friends or family when possible.
When women talk with one another, they often share their inner selves. It is no surprise, then, to see that some of PEARLS' 800-plus quotations and comments are serious, some amusing, some heartbreaking, and some just plain sensible. These women are neither afraid nor ashamed of the later stages of life, despite whatever troubles they may have encountered. This book shows, from the point of view of women who have "been there, faced that" how to put everything into perspective and make a worthwhile life. They are different from one another, as well as from those who will read their words. They express what they have discovered, how they've adapted to physical challenges and dealt with losses, what brings them joy, and how they create and sustain family relationships and friendships. There is no doubt that nearly any adult American female will find something here to bring at least a nod of recognition.
About the Author
Dot Nuechterlein is similar to many women in her age group: her education--at Valparaiso University, Queen's University of Ontario, and the University of Chicago--took place with gaps in between. Rather than one career path, her life's work has included counseling, education, social services, administration, and writing. She has served as an elected official in her home city and has been a volunteer for community projects and events. On the state level she is an alumna of Indiana's Richard G Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series, and nationally she was selected for membership in Leadership America, the forerunner of today's Leadership Women. Dot is a faculty retiree from Valparaiso University, where she taught sociology classes for thirty years along with holding administrative positions in the Graduate School, the Chapel, the Department of Music, and several affiliated organizations. The Life Cycle, including Aging, was one of her special teaching areas; another was the Family, including Women's Studies. Dot was one of the first females to serve as official scorekeeper in NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball, her hobby of more than three decades. She and her husband especially enjoy spending time with their three adult children and their families.