Serenity at 70, Gaiety at 80: Why you should keep on getting older by Garrison Keillor

Serenity at 70, Gaiety at 80: Why you should keep on getting older by Garrison Keillor

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Created just for fans as a keepsake from Garrison and available only in our store this wonderful gem on aging will tickle your funny bone!  We are already in the second print run; these will begin shipping December 1st.  Here is a short preview:

“My life is so good at 79 I wonder why I waited this long
to get here,” writes Mr. Keillor. “I look at the front page
of the paper and think, ‘Not My Problem.’ The world
belongs to the young, I am only a tourist, and I love being
a foreigner in America.I enjoy it as I would enjoy Paris or
Copenhagen, except I mostly know the language. I don’t
know who famous people are anymore and I’m okay with
that.” You learn that Less Is More, the great lesson of
Jesus and also Buddha. Each day becomes importan after
you pass the point of life expectancy. Big problems vanish,
small things make you happy. And the worst is behind you
because you lack the energy to be as foolish as you might
otherwise be.
“We arrive at old age by luck; virtue is not crucial. Luck
is crucial. If you took time to plan your life carefully,
you’d be 90 by the time you turn 25.So aim for adequacy.
Be good enough”.

With a chapter of 23 rules for aging, including
“Enumerate your benefits,” “Enjoy inertia,” “Get out of
the way,” “Tell your likely survivors absolutely not to use
the words “A Celebration of Life’ (you already did that
yourself), “Don’t fight with younger people; they will be
writing your obituary,” and finally, “Ignore rules you read
in a book. Do what you were going to do anyway.”

Also including the Five Stages of Aging, for those who like
lists, and Mr. Keillor’s account of 24 hours in a New York
ER, in which he saw clearly his own good fortune and
also got an EEG and a lesson in contentment from Bob
the Buddhist. And a few poems for no extra charge:

Every day is a beautiful gift,
Tender and precious and swift.
The light and the sound,
The sky and the ground,
Every hour cries out to be lived.
Though I may be over the hill,
Still I think I can and I will.
I’ve forgotten just what
I can and will, but
They remain a goal of mine still.
Every year I pass the date
When my balloon shall deflate.
My mom entered heaven
At age ninety-seven,
And I aim to reach ninety-eight.


Old folks like Lena and Ole

 Choose to dance sprightly and slowly

And thus stay upright

But the gentle delight

They find is quite joyful and holy.



Don’t fight with younger people, even if you’re right, which you probably are. When they tell you outrageous things, say, “That’s very interesting, I’ll have to think about it.” These people will be writing your obituary, and why give them a reason to put “contentious” or “embittered” in the second paragraph or accusations of cultural appropriation or insufficient anger at power imbalance. If you enjoy dispute, go after your elders if you still have any who are of sound mind. Poke them in the stomach. This will amaze them, seeing as everyone else pities them to death, and they will relish combat and rise to the challenge and it will improve their respiration. And a day later they’ll forget the whole thing.