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Psychotherapist, life coach, speaker and author Doctor Lois Frankel has a sign in her office that states, “Entrance to another’s soul is a sacred honor.” It epitomizes the search she took to write this beautiful, insightful and compassionate book called “Ageless Women, Timeless Wisdom.” She focused on women who ranged in age from 70 to 100 to gather a cross section of women’s most treasured possessions—their memories. She proved that their existence and wisdom is essential to our very survival as their unique life experiences reflected differences in interests, backgrounds, temperaments and experiences.
About the book
One of her subjects, a 90-year-old, remembers the 1936 Johnstown, Pennsylvania, flood. An 86-six-year-old talks of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act that barred the immigration of all Chinese laborers. And an 81-year-old lady from Richmond, Virginia, remembers the 1960s race riots, as do I. But Frankel doesn’t just gloss over her subject’s responses. When a customer in a Palm Springs pet boutique is asked what she knew to be true after all her years of living, she responded, “If life gives you lemons, look for the vodka.”
When a woman in Scottsdale was asked the same question, she replied, “Don’t trust men. If they don’t treat you well, leave them. They don’t change.” Without exception, these women don’t see themselves as the stereotypical old age crones. They want others to acknowledge their relevance, vitality and wisdom. A 91-year-old said, “I’m 39 from the neck up but 139 from the neck down.” Another said, “Never give a man more than half of your money and keep the travel money set aside.”
And you can bet that any best-selling author who has been featured in “People” and “USA Today,” and who’s written other books like “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” and “Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich,” has written another winner for us as well. Frankel has proven that although history has given us the wisdom of men like God, Socrates, Confucius, Merlin and Einstein, their female counterparts deserve to be heard, no matter that in most cases, they were forced to be observers instead of participants in world events, but their insights helped future generations to survive and flourish.
The often marginalized and invisible women from the world over that Frankel profiles share their heartwarming, hilarious, witty, practical and philosophical advice willingly, no matter their level of education, religions, ethnicities and backgrounds. Singer and songwriter Rita Coolidge summed it up best: “For too long, the wisdom of older women has gone unnoticed, unappreciated and undervalued, but this collection is sure to put a smile on your face and the faces of the women you share it with.” And she’s so right.
I bought four more copies immediately after I finished reading the book and gave them to my best women friends. One said it proved to her that women are the keepers of knowledge and experience and sharing with others in this format reminded her of family get-togethers or quilting bees when the women caught up with each other after dinner, shared intimate details of their lives, compared notes and perspectives, and were all regarded as equal contributors when outside that room, many were marginalized, silenced, or considered unworthy of being heard.
But these “seasoned women” knew that each possessed kindness and caring, independence, intelligence, sacrifice, grace, determination, confidence and love. They had learned life lessons and could teach them well. They were models for well-lived lives and in these short quotes and longer interviews, you will recognize their voices, you will laugh, you will think, and you will cry but you’ll feel even better about joining their ranks because you’ll realize all that you too have to offer because you also will be a positive role model for aging.
Reverend Rhonda. D. Branch, author and CEO of several faith-based organizations, says this book will be a blessing to you and a gift from heaven to those you share it with. This book contains lessons to be learned, lessons to be taught, and lessons that provide a model for a well-lived life. Aging creates a resource of knowledge that can be handed down to future generations, and although we are on separate life journeys, we’re all on the same one as well as we reflect on life’s past and present. The photos, artwork, and calligraphy enhance each page of this coffee table book. If only Frankel herself and her reflections had been featured as well, but at least she included the Hasidic Proverb, “For the unlearned, old age is winter. For the learned, it is the season of the harvest.”
Frankel definitely knows what us women want and need, and after reading the book, you’ll want to go to the women in your life and ask for their contributions and listen to their stories. This book will spur you to start collecting women’s wisdom on your own right now to add to Frankel’s collection.