By: Judy Sheer Watters
Publisher: Franklin Scribes Publishers
Publication Date: November 2017
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: August 2018
Those of us who have reached "a certain age" all know the signs - our bones creak, it's hard to get out of bed in the morning, and we find ourselves wishing to be young again. However, since we all know that we can't turn back the clock, author Judy Sheer Watters advises that if we adopt a positive attitude, people will be drawn to us and we all will benefit as we transition to old age.
In this journal, the author begins with an introduction that describes a show that she and her husband enjoy. This show, about digging for gold in Alaska, she argues, is much like life. In the show, people hope to get rich by finding a lot of gold, but that's rarely what happens. In life, too, we start out with high hopes, but with the unexpected "bumps" that every person encounters, we find ourselves, at the tail-end of our lives, typically in a very different place than what we originally imagined. How we handle that transition to old age will profoundly affect how we deal with, and enjoy, our later years.
Watters main premise throughout the book is that "...by aging with a positive outlook, we can be outward focused, not inward focused. When we are outward focused, people are drawn to us. This gives us the opportunity to be a light in their lives. Being a light in the lives of others, causes us to have a joyful outlook. It's a win-win for all." Simple, right? But how do we stay positive when our bodies hurt, our family moves away, and other aspects of aging make it difficult to stay happy? Watters uses stories of her mother to show the reader that there are ways to keep a positive spin on all aspects of our lives, regardless of how we may initially think of those events.
Meet Judy Sheer Watters' mother - a spunky, funny woman who, at the time the author wrote the book, was a spry ninety-six. In fourteen short chapters, we follow along with Watters as she recounts events in her mother's life, events primarily from her later years. These events, most of which we have, or will, experience ourselves, are things that Watters' mother faced with a positive attitude. Things such as an "empty nest," memory loss, and giving up the home where she raised her family, are all events chronicled in the book. But rather than mourn the loss of these things, Watters' mother would see the positives and thus was better able to manage the changes that occurred. The empty nest allowed her to downsize and enjoy living with a family member, the fear of moving into a nursing home was turned into enjoying new friendships with the other residents, and giving up her driver's license removed the stress and fear of driving in traffic. By always seeing the plus side of the equation, Watters' mother made it easier for herself as well as those around her.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first opened Panning for Gold in Our Golden Years - I didn't want to read another depressing book about aging. But within a few pages, I was smiling, and soon laughing, at the antics of Watters' mother. Included are several conversations that will definitely have you giggling and wishing to meet Watters' mother. Even better, the advice given through the author's experiences with her mother are ones that can easily be incorporated into our daily lives. Every chapter begins with a quote from an author, politician, actor, etc., that is relevant to the chapter, followed by the story from her mother, another quote, then "Your Time for Reflection" with notes about what to think about along with a few lined pages so you can write directly into this journal. I didn't expect to smile and laugh while reading a book on aging, but with the positive changes that author Judy Sheer Watters espouses, you too will find yourself enjoying this book and thinking of how you can change your life for the better.
Quill says: A quick reading book that is also a very uplifting book. Author Judy Sheer Watters, with her lessons on aging, will have you almost looking forward to your golden years.
For more information on Panning for Gold in Our Golden Years: A Journal for Positive Aging, please visit the author's website at www.judywatters.com