Books · General Medical

Book Review: “Lighter As We Go”

But Greenstein and Holland don’t slide over the difficulties many men and women encounter in their senior years. They have seen adversity: They counsel cancer patients at the renowned Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Interestingly, they point out that our attitudes about getting older set the stage for how we enter it. If we view aging positively, one study indicates, we are more likely to live seven years longer and have fewer health problems than those who have had negative expectations. Lacking a sense of purpose or being socially isolated has been shown to exacerbate health problems, shorten life, and increase the risk for mental health problems.

As a psychotherapist, I have long seen clearly that the ability to learn from life’s losses and rewards changes our identities and character for the better, making us wiser, stronger, more ethical people. Greenstein and Holland’s experiences as therapists with people facing serious illness and mortality have many similarities to my experiences working as a trauma specialist with people confronting life-altering events .

Like the authors, I have learned much from patients about the ways in which resilience, courage, integrity, humor, and giving back truly make us “lighter as we go,” capable of living full and vital lives in spite of life’s difficulties. If there is a personal takeaway from the book, it is that growing older can truly be a time in which we are happier and more fulfilled, more able to enjoy family and friends, and have the wisdom to fret less about the small stuff.


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  • joan meyers November 8, 2019 at 11:06 am

    Would enjoy your newsletters and if you do book reviews in the Chicago-land area suburbs.
    Joan Meyers- Coordinator: Book Review Group Palos Heights Woman’s Club

  • Diane Dettmann January 29, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Thank you Dr. Jane Moffett for the inspiring, insightful review of Lighter As We Go. Aging can be a scary process, especially when there’s not a lot of longevity in my family. The suggestions of staying fit, living a moderate life style and seeing the humor in life are all doable. I love the Senility Prayer!