You’re only as old as you think you are, according to this debut primer on aging vigorously.
Rather than advising on the physical infirmities of age, Jinks, an entrepreneur, community activist, and arts advocate heading into her 80s, mainly discusses how to revitalize one’s social and spiritual lives in the golden years. The key, she argues, is to approach retirement with a positive attitude, a reflective perspective on the past (without wallowing too much in self-pity over psychic wounds from years ago), and a willingness to try new things (even to the point of wearing a clown nose in public to spark good cheer and spontaneous interactions). Above all, she urges oldsters to view retirement as a time that’s freer from the burdens of caring for kids and earning a living and therefore ripe for giving back to the world through volunteer work, supporting people in need, and weighing in with their accumulated insights on the problems facing humanity. Jinks includes much poetry and wisdom of sages from Albert Einstein to Eleanor Roosevelt, along with intriguing reminiscences from her own life, especially her involvement with the Swamp Gravy project in her hometown of Colquitt, Georgia. That endeavor stages playlets based on stories from locals. She closes each chapter with often whimsical suggestions on how to bring novelty and energy into life, including “Blow bubbles with a wand,” “Imagine yourself a balloon, floating weightless and free,” and “Celebrate your life by shouting, ‘Yes, Yes, Yes!’ ” Much of her advice will be useful to younger people as well, like her warnings to avoid “energy vampires” who “drain us of vital life force” with their negativity and complaining. And she sometimes indulges in mild soapboxing for local foods and against materialism. Jinks’ loosely organized, folksy prose meanders lucidly and pleasantly from one topic to the next; it’s observational and gently encouraging without being too prescriptive and exhortatory.
A spirited and engaging self-helper that prods readers to do something useful and fulfilling with the time remaining.