Tag Archives: Composing a Further Life

From the Bookshelves

Stop for a moment to absorb this possibility: Rather than dreading a protracted old age, consider that you have been given the gift of an extra phase, what Mary Catherine Bateson calls “Adulthood II.” There are no longer three generations in one average lifetime, but four (more great grandmothers!). This new phase might begin at 40, or it might begin, as Jane Fonda testifies in “Composing a Further Life,” at 60.

In the United States, we are, on average, living 30 years longer than we did in the 19th century, 20 years longer since World War II. “We have not added decades to life expectancy by simply extending old age; instead, we have opened up a new space partway through the life course, a second and different kind of adulthood that precedes old age, and as a result every stage of life is undergoing change.”