Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Coming to Terms With Aging: The Secret to Meaningful Time

Coming to Terms With Aging: The Secret to Meaningful Time, I. Michael Grossman, RDR Books, 2007

Most people have a less than healthy attitude toward aging and death. This book aims to change that.

In many families, especially in the West, death is joked about, or it is not mentioned at all. Consider the billions of dollars spent every year on anti-aging creams and treatments. The elderly are pushed into convalescent homes or assisted living faclities in a sort of medical apartheid. The first exposure to the word "mortality" is when a grandparent dies, or when the person is told by their doctor that something is not quite right.

The main reason for such attempts to deny the existence of death is fear. What if there really is nothing after death? On the other hand, what if there really is a Judgment Day after death? What if it is decided that I don't "make the cut"? Other fears include the loss of control, the loss of identity, and physical pain at the time of death.

What to do? Write your own obituary. Be honest about yourself. Don't be overly hard on yourself, but don't make yourself sound like a cross between Martin Luther King Jr. and the Dalai Lama. What would Heaven be like for you? Would it be a place where angels sit around and discuss the great issues of time and space or more like a writer's colony, or a place of action like a NASCAR race? There is no wrong answer.

The book also includes several meditations on the subject of death. Imagine the moment of your death. Life is a gift that has been given to you by the universe, and now you are returning the gift. In another, you are walking into the ocean, and the water is getting deeper and deeper. You feel no fear or panic, even when the water is over your head. As you watch the fish and other sea creatures swimming past, you feel your body liquefying, becoming one with the ocean. Starting with your head, you feel your body fading away. Then when you have become part of the ocean, slowly bring yourself back into human form and walk out of the ocean.

For the vast majority of people, death is the Great Taboo. In a way, this is not pleasant reading. But, it is very hopeful and optimistic reading that can do a really good at enriching this thing called Life.

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