Review — AS WE THINK . . . SO WE AGE by Geri Marr Burdman (Bolivia)



As We Think . . . So We Age: Exploring Pathways to Meaningful Aging
by Geri Marr Burdman, Ph.D.  (Bolivia 1962-64)
GeroWise Books
136 pages
July 2015
$14.99 (paperback)

Review by Sue Hoyt Aiken (Ethiopia 1962 -64)

The author’s far ranging life combined with her education, career and recognition by peers should give readers comfort as she explores the challenges of aging in today’s world.

As one reviewer writes, “A deeply insightful book, offering a message of hope in the midst of challenges, the author reflects upon …”Dr. Vikto Frankl’s exemplary lessons on finding meaning regardless of age or circumstance.”  That sums up the value of this remarkable 117 page guide for anyone looking ahead or is in the process of aging.  She designates entire pages at the end of each chapter for the reader’s reflections, thus encouraging engagement with the content.  The book lends itself to being read and discussed by a support group or class as well on your own.

Chapters cover vital topics such as meaningfulness, one’s uniqueness, life’s transitions, letting go of resentments, and embracing one’s age among others.

As explained in her Introduction, it all began with her two year stint in the Peace Corps in Bolivia (1962 to 1964).  She writes, “Serving as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Bolivia opened a door I’d never dreamed possible.  The experience ignited my passion for global health work and helped shape my world view in ways that I will explore with you in this book.”

Her life was further impacted when she learned of Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, eventually meeting him and working with him over many years.  He was a Holocaust Survivor and Founder of Logotherapy, The Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy.  “He had studied extensively with Drs. Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, founders of two Viennese schools of psychotherapy of his era.”

To add to the authenticity of her message, Burdman weaves references, quotes and personal experiences of countless individuals, both well known and others she met along the way in her life.

She closes this deeply personal guide for others while reflecting her life journey. Chapter 10 is devoted to the Peace Corps itself and significant people who impacted her.  One such person was Sargent Shriver, founding director of the Peace Corps, but also two young girls she met in Bolivia.

Readers might have a good laugh in Chapter 7, Embrace Your Age!  She talks about all the “anti-aging” messages of our culture like it is something to be avoided.  She reflects on conscious aging, which values each day as an opportunity for growth and gratitude.  Amen to that.

Reviewed by Sue Hoyt Aiken (Ethiopia 1962 – 64), who served as a secondary English teacher in a boys boarding school.  She was able to visit her father’s childhood home in a Quaker mission in Kenya during a summer break.  Her worldview was forever changed as she returned to California to marriage, family and community life.  She later attended graduate school for a MA in Career Development to especially help women, who after years of family and community work were seeking meaningful and relevant careers in the second half of their lives.


Leave a comment
  • Dear Geri and Sue,

    Thanks so much for this review. Dr. Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” has been a guide for me for many years, and I’m awed to think that you worked with him, Geri. Your life has been and continues to be very meaningful.

    Leita Kaldi Davis
    (Senegal 1993-96)
    Recipient, Lillian Carter Award 2016

    • Dear Leita,
      Thank you for your very kind words.
      I first met Dr. Viktor Frankl when I was a graduate student at the University of Puerto Rico in 1969. He was invited to Puerto Rico to offer a seminar series, and it was a life changing experience for me. Dr. Frankl’s teaching and writings continue to be a vital source of guidance.
      Please tell me about your work, Leita. I’m sure your work is meaning-filled and significant. I consider RPCVs to be family and I’d be pleased to know about you. Congratulations on your Lillian Carter Award!
      All best wishes,

      Geri Marr Burdman

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2022. Peace Corps Worldwide.