The Measure of My Days

The Measure of My Days

Book - 1979
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A great, sensitive, heartbreaking, loving and joyous book which simply celebrates life.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 1979, c1968
ISBN: 9780140051643
0140051643
Characteristics: 150 p. ; 20 cm

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rodraglin
Jun 22, 2016

A book about being old actually written by someone old

The Measure of My Days is a remarkable thing - a book about being old written by someone who is old.

Most often I have found books about being old or about elderly people are written by someone who, indeed, is not old. He or she may be observing the elderly but they are not living the experience.

In her eighties, Florida Scott-Maxwell began writing her thoughts, philosophical and religious musings and experiences in a notebook that became this slim volume, The Measure of My Days.

The writing is lyrical, at times almost poetic. By far the most interesting passages for this reader related to being old - physically and emotionally, the decline of energy, the constant and ongoing loss of friends, family, of one's own capabilities and how one must surrender to a state of "heroic helplessness".

This very moving passage is an indication of the author's insight and pathos:
"When old, one has only one's soul for company. There are times when you feel it crying, you do not ask why. Your eyes are dry, but heavy, hot tears drop on your heart. There is nothing to do but wait, and listen to the emptiness which is sometimes gentle. You and the day are quiet, and you have no comment to make."

On the other hand there's a fierceness of the mind to be opinionated, informed, to find solutions and to challenge the unknown and come to some resolution with life.

Published in 1968, the author's views on society, especially women are interesting from an historical viewpoint if only to see how mores have changed.

c
clsteph
Oct 25, 2012

Lovely book - journal entries of a woman in her eighties, and full of wise and humorous insights into what it's like to be that old. Warmly recommended.

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