It is absolutely true that as you grow older, you begin to pay attention to growing older, probably hoping to continue growing older yet. I discovered a few years ago that I was very interested in reading of the exploits of other elders – recreating yourself in your 60s or 70s or even beyond. Some of these stories are just incredible, others not so much.
So, when I read the description of Sixty by Ian Brown, a renowned journalist in Canada, I knew I had to read it. I’m pretty sure that I’d never previously heard of Mr. Brown, who is well known, both as a writer and for his TV appearances. (I’ve not had a TV for 13 or more years, which could explain a bit of that gap.) Based on this book, he is a very good writer. He is able to discern truths where others might only see or hear a muddle of sound.
Sixty is a journal of his sixtieth year, beginning with his birthday – Feb. 4, 2014. It is a very frank look at a gentleman who confronts his age and aging in relation to nearly everything that happens in his life. Many of these events are medical in nature. But he is bright and observant, and other than a tendency to whine on occasion, the book is mostly enjoyable to read. At times, a sentence pops off the page and grabs the reader, as in: “Why do I only understand now, at this late stage, that we never have enough time to say everything we ought to say?” and a bit later – “. . . without shattering the illusion that time stretches out before us. It doesn’t. It runs past.” Indeed it does. (These lines are from May 21 while in London visiting friends.)
Actually, the entire month of May provided the most enjoyable reading, as he and his wife spent most of the month with friends and relatives touring the British countryside. The reason for the trip would not usually fall into the category of ‘enjoyable’, but neither was it dreadful or awful. He was on a mission as charged by his father who had died at age 95 a few months previously. Dad did not want to be buried anywhere – he wanted his ashes pitched to the winds over the northern channel, where he would join those of his wife, who was also an Englander by birth.
Every now and then Mr. Brown immerses himself (and us) in somewhat detailed medical/scientific explanations for the increasing failures of our bodies. Male or female readers of any age may well find these parts of great interest, as I did. Thinning and/or sagging skin happens to everyone if they live long enough. If there’s comfort in numbers, now we know we aren’t alone in this on-going battle. He also offers these tips to delay aging: stop smoking, eat properly, exercise, have sex and avoid stress. Easier said than done, I think.
Mr. Brown did not come from a well-to-do family, but as an adult he enjoyed a more than decent standard of living. Now, of course, because of the most recent recession, he is beginning to worry if he’ll have more ‘money than month’, as the saying goes. I suspect that being Canadian with their more progressive medical system has provided him with more medical care than most of us have experienced, or may anticipate receiving.
If anything, I could wish he wouldn’t have spent so much time worrying about not having enough time left to do all the things he’s wanted to do in his life. Better that he’d have knuckled down and done some of them. But that’s my opinion, not his. I wish him a good many more productive years, however.
First and foremost, Kelly is a reader, then a writer and editor. She adores Regency-set novels, and cozy mysteries. Every now and then, however, she finds something else to enjoy if it has a great premise with characters who belong in there, and fabulous writing! She writes under her own name, as well as her pen-name, Hetty St. James.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by The Experiment. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.