HOW I SPENT A YEAR WITH SIX OLD PEOPLE AND BECAME VERY, VERY HAPPY

 

In 2015, I followed six people over age 85 for a year. I expected a deep dive into the hardships of old age. Instead, they taught me lessons that changed my life: lessons in resilience, joy, purpose, gratitude and acceptance. I learned why older people are more content than young adults, and why even talking about wanting to die can make you happy. Best of all, I learned that we don’t have to wait until we’re old to learn these lessons.           

 

 
 

HERE'S WHAT THEY'VE BEEN SAYING:

“Uplifting and wise.” —AARP The Magazine

“Engrossing . . . Few books about aging show such clarity and purpose or so deftly blend cleareyed examinations of social issues with a realistic but hopeful cast of mind. In this edifying and often quite moving book, Leland presents the “lessons” taught by his subjects even as they themselves are learning them, and he does so with an empathy and thoroughness that deserve our gratitude.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“Engaging . . . This is not a record of the daily routines of this diverse socioeconomic group but rather of answers to questions regarding happiness, life, and death. . . Leland entertains and intrigues readers as six unique personalities emerge, sharing their reminiscences about love, heartache, aches and pains, and joy. This is a sympathetic and honest look at growing old.”
Kathleen McBroom, Booklist

“Leland skillfully weaves the wisdom gleaned from their experiences into a fascinating chronicle of the joys and difficulties of living into one’s 80s and beyond. . . Leland lends credence to his heartening story of how six seniors have nonetheless made the best of it. He also movingly shows, through his own example, how interacting with those much older than oneself can lead to seeing life in a new light.” —Publishers Weekly

“John Leland’s practical, powerful insights into the rich experiences of the ‘oldest old’ can guide all of us to lead happier lives—no matter what our age.”
Gretchen Rubin, author of the New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project