“How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young…” Dr. Bill Thomas
Second Wind by Dr. Bill Thomas is part history, part sociology, part medicine, part advocacy, and part psychology. Oh, I forgot about the part that’s just plain good. Yes, that’s a lot of parts! It *is* a book of great depth… and, I suppose, width, too (at 300 pages, it’s one of my longer ones, anyway).
This book is for anyone, but most especially for those of us nearing… or entering… our “elder” years.
Thomas begins with a little history of the Baby Boomers (born between the mid-1940s until 1964) and ends with the elders… except, the Boomers are now becoming the elders. That’s really what the book’s about. I mean, if I want to distill it down to one thought (which is almost ridiculous! It’s a massive thought! To visualize it, I see something like a solar system… the big picture simple… the intricacies complex).
Now, where should I begin? Okay, well… Thomas is a geriatric physician and a Boomer himself, so he gets what he’s talking about. You will, too.
Like so many of my books, this one talks about balance…
Oh, boy! That.
… and legacy …
Oh, boy! That, too!
Two of my favorite things, really. Balance and legacy… one, in the present… the other, after we’re gone. (I’ve talked about legacy in these posts.)
Published in 2014, this award-winner travels from childhood into adulthood and finally, into elder-hood, which Thomas tells us, is nothing like it used to be. Also, childhood is not like it used to be. Life. Yep. Indeed, life is not what it used to be.
Some people get sick of hearing about “the good ol’ days” and think things can’t be that different. I really appreciated this from the book… a validation that yes, my childhood was completely and utterly different from that of my children, or my grandson.
I played outside, made money by pulling weeds or putting on a show with the neighborhood kids. I felt safe. We didn’t get a color TV until 1970. (I remember the very first thing that came onto the screen – tennis. Those green courts! Phew-eee… bee-u-tiful!)
My children went outside before Nintendo came along, but the notion of safety was beginning to feel tenuous. Missing kids were on milk cartons, someone was murdered in our neighborhood, right down the street. It was the mom of a kid who rode with them on the bus to school. We didn’t get our first computer at home untiil they were teenagers and the only game available was The Oregon Trail.
My sister, who had children a decade later than I did, spent her children’s young lives (and into their teens) driving them to sports and dance. And school functions. Church. Everywhere. All. the. time.
My grandson (at 4) has a busier schedule than I do, plays games on the computer (one of several in their home) and can probably tell you what a geo fence is… don’t ask me!
My parents, their parents before them… we all had the same similiar childhood.
And then, the shifts.
And guess what? It’s the same with growing old.
Grandparents working after 60? Driving after 75? Skiing? Jogging? Dancing at 80 and beyond? UnHEARD of! Until… when? When did it all begin to change? Thomas will tell you when: When the Boomers started nosing their way in.
So, here I am at almost-60… knowing I will be working long past “retirement” age – which has also moved past what it used to be… gosh… I swear, I remember a time when 55 was the golden number. Maybe that was just wishful thinking. Ha!
This is a rich and beautiful book that looks to redefine aging. …but not one to sail through or skim. It is spiritual, without being preachy. And most of all, it is hopeful.
I really like the subtitle, too: Navigating the passage to a slower, deeper, and more connected life. Yes, this book helps with that, too… and we need some help, because the passage is crowded!
Just for fun: Dr. Thomas’ YouTube Channel