This book sat at my bedside unopened for a few weeks. It isn’t that I didn’t like the author. I’ve read with appreciation, an earlier book by Notker Wolf (Faith Can Give Us Wings, Paraclete 2013). Wolf was the Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict, now retired. I found his writing to be earthy, and full of insight. But I was slow to read Aging Starts in the Mind: You’re Only As Old As You Feel, because despite my own middle-aged-ness (early 40’s), I’m not ready to own the fact that I’m getting old. Do I really need to read a book on the spirituality of aging? None of us much like growing old, and I’m still young enough that I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to read about it.
And then I read it anyway. I was completely disarmed by Wolf’s good humor and Benedictine insights. He extolls the gifts of old age ( e.g. awareness of our limitations, less concern with appearances, awareness of life’s brevity, living a fulfilled life). and warns against succumbing to the temptations of old age—passive fatalism and giving up. Wolf says the soul doesn’t age, and the last third of life we can still enjoy mental acuity and spiritual vitality.
There is twenty chapters, chockfull of Benedictine wisdom, personal anecdotes, musical metaphors, and scriptural reflections. I enjoyed this and despite not wanting to admit to actually getting old yet, I found myself nodding my head and underlining a few places, and feeling hopeful about the winter years. I give this four stars – ★★★★
Notice of material connection: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.