It takes an abundance of audacity, courage, ingenuity, humility, and good humor, and to age well in a culture that mistakenly equates aging with devastating decline. Fortunately, these and other life-enhancing qualities tend to ripen fully in later life. In addition, decades of research have established that the things we most fear about age, like severe dementia and debilitating frailty, are the exception, not the rule. Even so, demeaning attitudes toward old women in particular persist, and they cause enormous, unnecessary suffering.
Winter’s Graces offers a balanced and encouraging vision of aging, based on recent research, ancient stories, elders’ experience, and insights from the social sciences and the world’s spiritual traditions. The book highlights the many surprising gifts of later life – like the ageless capacity to embody both the older and the younger parts of ourselves and the deepening ability to savor life and ride its ups and downs with equanimity.
Dr. Susan Stewart, a retired professor of psychology and psychotherapist, identifies the developmental trends, attitudes, and behaviors that can help make the winter of life the most rewarding season of all. She includes a wealth of tools and practices for nurturing the eleven graces of winter: Agelessness, Audacious Authenticity, Compassion, Contentment, Courage, Creativity/Ingenuity, Necessary Fierceness, Remembrance, Self-Transcending Generosity, Simplicity, and the crowning grace of Wisdom.