Home Recommended Reading Workshops About RSS

The Last Gift Of Time: Life Beyond Sixty ~ Carolyn Weilbrun

The Last Gift of Time is a memoir written by feminist author Carolyn Weilbrun and I was referred to the good book by  Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake  author Anna Quindlin’s memoir about being 60.  This book is about how fabulous it is to be 70 and looking back and forth.

This memoir was inspiring and helped me get through a medical procedure I was undertaking.  Weilbrun was so positive about her life and her time here on earth.  Her writing was fairly formal and just full of lovely literary reference and exquisite quotes; a pleasure to read.

You may not recognize Carolyn Weilbrun’s name but if you are a mystery reader then maybe you are familiar with her by her pen name Amanda Cross?

If not that name, maybe your are aware that she was the first woman CHAIR of an academic department of Columbia University or that she was the biographer of Gloria Steinem.     Weilbrun is also known as a woman who wore pants/slacks early on as a statement of her liberation and the power of women to be comfortable.

The author was married for many years; the parent of 3 children and the Grandmother to quite a flock.  She grew up as an only child of immigrant parents and only later in life discovered that her father had also funded the arrival of his mother and 3 sisters to this country during the war.

That which Weilbrun loved about being 70 was how much joy she found in her daily living.   She loved having an internet connection and being able to email her friends from college and graduate school daily.  She so enjoyed writing and after retiring she enjoyed that pleasure even more on her own schedule.

Solitude was a greatest pleasure and highly ranked.  Weilbrun enjoyed her walks with her dog and just being satisfied in her own company.  She felt a happiness in truly being her own best friend.   She had a family home outside of New York City, but did not enjoy all the yard work and country chores, nor the busy clamor of all the family being around and their activities.  So she bought herself her own house about an hour away from the family home.  She had neighbors with extensive gardens on either side and she walked in their space for her meditations and exercise.

Her life was minimalistic at her own house.  A desk to write, a grand chair by the fireplace, and a bed for sleep.   Her partner joined her on Saturday nights and Sundays after days spent at the family home just down the road.   There was the weekday hustle and bustle of the NYC apartment to wind down from or enjoy if they missed the rigors of city life.

I have several friends who are in their late 70s, one is doing senior triathlons and another is teaching master piano studio classes and  gardening.  There is no sign that they are slowing down and they love their sense of freedom and lightness of spirit.   They too love their solitude and being their own best friend.

I reviewed the book So Far Away by Christine Hartmann  last year.   Her mother decided to end her own life rather than get into a state of needing nursing care, extra funds, dependence, surgeries or pills.   At age 73 she ended her life.   At age 77 Carolyn Weilbrun decided she had had “enough” and also ended her life.

I am enjoying reading about these amazing people who are thrilled with living their life at their creative best especially as they reach the peak of creativity, about age 65!  I feel empowered to make the changes I need to make the best of my life and to celebrate being my own best friend.

I believe the The Last Gift of Time is about the pleasures of living – it is about getting better with age and not just older. I think you will enjoy spending time with these books.

I purchased this book for my own library and no one sent me anything to review this book.  If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you

You may also enjoy reading our words on WiseEars  or Biking Architect .

Related reading:
The President’s Club
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
The Paper Garden
So Far Away
Walter’s Muse

Tags: , , , , , ,

9 Responses to “The Last Gift Of Time: Life Beyond Sixty ~ Carolyn Weilbrun”

  1. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    “… it is about getting better with age and not just older.”

    Patricia – I’ve just added this book to my must-read list – it sounds wonderful. From here I’m going to Tweet and Google+ this post.

    Patricia Reply:

    A very good read and an amazing writer. It was wonderful to read such a literary well written memoir.

    Thanks for sharing.

    I am on my third day of a massive migraine headache – I am withdrawing from the hormones I was taking and felt so good on…in a rocky spot…will be back to reading soon.

  2. Deborah Barker Says:

    I watched a television programme about aging last night. The subjects ranged from age 100 to 108 and all were happy, vibrant, relatively healthy and mobile individuals. It was fascinating watching how they treated life – I have always thought I will be so tired if I reach that age yet these people seemed to have so much energy. Whatever our age, we should cherish it – that much I have learnt in my 55 years. An inspiring post and an inspiring book by the sound of it. Thank you.
    Deborah Barker recently posted..Serendipity and Going Places…My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    I think aging well has a lot to do with attitude. I have discovered that I am an introvert and when I schedule enough alone time, I have so much more energy for being in the world.

    I also thought Weilbrun’s emphasis on having friends, even via email, that you share with everyday was important. I can see this is a missing element in my health and well being.

    As I said in my comment to Laurie, I am on the 3rd day of a huge Migraine headache….it is passing on, but I am not quite back to speed

  3. Sara Says:

    As I heading to sixty, I read this post with interest, but found it a bit sad about the author ending her life at 77 years old. I actually went and read an article about it. It didn’t sound like there was physical reason; she just decided it was her time. Maybe, that’s not so bad. She did seem like a woman who lived life as she wanted to, rather as she SHOULD.

    I hope your migraine of gone by now. My daughter gets those. They are literally a PAIN and the medicine knocks her out for a long time.

    Be good to yourself, okay?
    Sara recently posted..What’s freedom to you?My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Nice to find you here…and this was quite the book as was Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake about being the best at 60…

    I think Weilbrun just decided she had had enough – no great problems. The book SO FAR AWAY is similar about a woman who just died at 73 to save her family all the care giving that medical problems might bring and to use her money and life wisely. I think we will read more about this happening as so many people no longer have adequate health care.

    My mother and 2 of her friends just stopped taking all the fancy medications in their 90s in order to let go and before major, major problems set in. They had all watched families become bankrupt over last minute surgeries and procedures and extended stays.

    I am coming off medications and thus the migraines…
    Working at taking care of myself heavy duty right now – am hoping for a massage soon :)
    Thanks for your good posts and words

  4. susan Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    I missed this post when I was up at the lake – but the title drew me in. I cannot imagine a situation that would cause me to end my own life! At 65 I have more energy than in my 40’s and solitude has ALWAYS been an important element. I love being with people and activities etc. but wow, give me some time alone.

    One thing, and rather key I think, is that so many seniors are on so many drugs and those drugs can cause more problems down the line than they are worth. After (nearly) completing my MH, I am totally convinced that should I need anything, there is a whole host of herbal remedies from which to draw what I might need. Pharmaceuticals are not the life-savers they were advertised to be, with a few (very few) exceptions. The active and thriving people I know who are older than me are not taking any drugs. It is a lie that when you get old you need drugs to live, but the mainstream thinking is not easily changed. Pity.
    susan recently posted..ADHD – Diet or Drugs for the Classroom?My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    I am working at staying off drugs myself…somedays it is just plain hard work…but I see so many active and enjoying life folks over 77 that I would find it hard to give up also…

    My Doctor friend discovered at 76 that he had a very painful, severe form of cancer in his spine. He took his own life because he knew it would bankrupt his family and he might be kept going for years on huge doses of medications…I think he was wise…
    and gave a great big huge gift to his family.

    When at 91 my mum fractured her spine and could not dress herself or care for herself anymore – and she missed her travel and groups (brain was good) she felt she had lived a long and good life…she worked with Hospice and her Dr. to let go of the medication that were controlling her heart and lungs…she died in her sleep the last day of taking Co-reg…just what she wanted at 94.
    Patricia recently posted..A STRANGE STIRRING: The FEMININE MYSTIQUE and American Women at the the Dawn of the 1960s ~ Stephanie CoontzMy Profile

  5. WiseEars Says:

    […] Other Words: The Last Gift of TIME (at Patricia’s Wisdom) Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake (at Patricia’s Wisdom) Our Services […]