I’m gonna run out of time in this life. And I have more books in my head than I’ll have time to write. One of them is Dead Next Year, about my own, mostly elegant experience in what I call “the Deep Third Act” (that’s age 80 and beyond).
The publishers aren’t nuts about my title – you may not be either – but I love it. I love it, partly because I have an odd sense of humor but mostly because I want my readers to focus candidly on death. And then get over it. And get on with the much more serious and useful business of living the best life they can…the good life which I have mostly lived in my 80’s and intend to live in my 90’s. I have been lucky, God knows, but mostly I have done a few things which almost all of us can do and most of us don’t. Starting off with the critical business of changing the pictures of aging in your head. They are wrong, and they are going to make a hash of your life if you don’t change ‘em. RESIST THE TYRANNY OF LOW EXPECTATIONS.
There is a terrible temptation to act out what we think is coming…to conform to the world’s expectation. That would be a massive error when it comes to aging, because the pictures are so wrong. That’s what Dead Next Year will be mostly about, if it gets written. That and a touch of exercise. Ok, more than a touch. And a little flair for pleasure. Joy, actually; best if you have a little flair for joy. As you go steaming toward the waterfall. And for God’s sake, don’t obsess about death; it’s not going to do a bit of good and it can do massive harm. There is a tragic increase in depression in old age, and dread of death has a lot to do with it. Don’t go there. Go someplace else. Go someplace fun. Fuck Death! Do you think that would be a better title?