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