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.