REVIEW: Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old by Steven Petrow
Soon after his 50th birthday, Petrow began assembling a list of “things I won’t do when I get old”—mostly a catalog of all the things he thought his then 70-something year old parents were doing wrong. That list, which included “You won’t have to shout at me that I’m deaf,” and “I won’t blame the family dog for my incontinence,” became the basis of this rousing collection of do’s and don’ts, wills and won’ts that is equal parts hilarious, honest, and practical.
The fact is, we don’t want to age the way previous generations did. “Old people” hoard. They bore relatives—and strangers alike—with tales of their aches and pains. They insist on driving long after they’ve become a danger to others (and themselves). They eat dinner at 4pm. They swear they don’t need a cane or walker (and guess what happens next). They never, ever apologize. But there is another way…
In Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old, Petrow candidly addresses the fears, frustrations, and stereotypes that accompany aging. He offers a blueprint for the new old age, and an understanding that aging and illness are not the same. As he writes, “I meant the list to serve as a pointed reminder—to me—to make different choices when I eventually cross the threshold to ‘old.’”
Getting older is a privilege. This essential guide reveals how to do it with grace, wisdom, humor, and hope. And without hoarding.
Dear Mr. Petrow,
I’ve read – and tried to read – books that discussed various ages of life. Some worked for me and others I didn’t make it past chapter two. This book struck a chord with me but that’s probably because it is aimed at my age group – the younger Boomers. Honestly I think people in their 50s and 60s would take to it best as we are still at the point where we can make different choices and try to avoid some of the things that our parents did and that we get labeled as doing ourselves. I would warn readers that a lot of these subjects are not and aren’t meant to be funny.
In a series of short chapters, traits and habits of our parents and grandparents are discussed – often in terms of how they affect us. Some of these are good things and others are what gives the book its title. The topics range from amusing to sad. Life lessons that you’ve learned from watching your own parents are incorporated. It’s probably the realization that I have fewer years ahead of me than I have behind that is driving me to seek out books such as these but this is another one that will hopefully nip at me to get my life in order so that I can enjoy what remains to the fullest. B