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Dead Next Year: Or Life in the Deep Third Act

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?

About Author

Chris Crowley
Chris Crowley

4 Comments

  1. Avatar Holly VanLeuven

    Hi Chris, Reading this blog came closer to the bone than usual for me. On May 18, 2018 I had routine GI surgery at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Scottsdale AZ. Things went south pretty quickly…I developed severe sepsis which led to septic shock. My children were flown in from all over and I was told that I was about an hour from certain death, that I needed to make the choice to fight for life very soon if I wanted to but that it would be very risky. Otherwise it was time for me to die. I could tell that my kids were of mixed opinions about the decision I should make. I decided to fight for life, that it was the better example to set. I was in the hospital for six weeks, in a rehab facility for five weeks and in a skilled nursing center for three weeks. I was finally free to go home, punctuated with surgical invasions, in early August. But home was in New Hampshire and I was in Arizona, unable to travel for an indefinite period. I was planning to move to Arizona eventually, just not quite so soon. And not without my worldly goods. Long story short, the healing has gone remarkably well. The dreadful risks presented to me as I made my decision back in May didn’t materialize and everything that could be reversed, has been. The most outstanding residuals include a foot-long vertical scar up the center of my abdomen and the loss of 50 long-unwanted pounds. Also, because I couldn’t drive for a while, I learned to Uber.
    Until Later,
    Holly VanLeuven

  2. Oh, I hope you do write that next book! I started rock climbing at 64, and there is a special sweetness to this because I don’t know how long this party will last. It WILL end one of these days, but in the meantime, I’m savoring every moment. And since you have been sort of leading the brigade on aging, I hope you will continue to write honestly about your experiences in this part of the Third Act. We need to know what’s coming. 🙂

  3. Avatar Kim Flodin

    However you title it, I can’t wait either!

  4. I love the concept and the title, and I know my husband will too. Doctors are quick to tell us to slow down and treat us like you should just go for a slow walk or sit in a recliner. You are changing the way people view aging Chris! I can’t wait for the new book!

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