South African author and student of Jung Susan Scott has teamed up with US counterpart Susan Schwartz to write Aging & Becoming: A Reflective Enquiry.
The book comprises correspondence between the two authors, which began with each writing back and forth on the letters of the alphabet, about the subject of aging.
What inspired you to write the book?
Dr Susan Schwartz, a Jungian analyst living in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and I discussed ageing at length in correspondence with each other and at meetings, held here and abroad.
We wanted to look at ageing in an attentive, reflective, in-depth and psychological way as it pertains to each of us.
Ageing has both of us in its radar. We’re aware of the inevitable losses this time brings; for example, death of partners and friends, unfulfilled dreams, failed relationships and the marginalisation of the older woman as being of no use in this time with the emphasis on youth and beauty.
We also wanted to highlight the potentially creative aspects of ageing and to recognise this time as one in which to express one’s true self. Ageing forces us to face the push and pull, the positive and the negative. If not now, when?
What do you hope that readers will take from it?
We hope that they will look at their lives more fully and in more depth and to pay attention to the messages from their inner being, making the time to ponder their dreams and reflections.
We also hope they can gain an appreciation of the gifts that ageing can bring; for example new discoveries, abilities and insights. This stage of our lives is irreplaceable and has many yet unexplored potentials and possibilities.
Is it aimed mainly at women or should men read it as well?
Women and men, young and old face trials and tribulations, successes and joys as we traverse through life. We each experience this in our unique ways. Each person will hopefully find recognition of themselves in the stories we tell of our experience and women who have shared stories, as well as of the timeless tales of the ancient past and present in myth and legend.
Do you think it has lessons for all of us regardless of age?
Ageing happens to all of us, irrespective of where we are. For many it is not an easy or trouble-free stage or process, although age is integral to living.
What was one of the most moving anecdotes for you?
I included what a woman wrote in our book: “Many do not listen to their own voices because they are afraid of discovering it. They are afraid of what they may hear and don’t know that they carry that responsibility, because finding your voice and listening to it pulls you away from crowd thinking and moves you towards being who you really are.” These were powerful and moving words.
Regarding women and ageing – is it more difficult for them than for men?
Yes and no. Both have to face and engage their bodies, psyches and souls. One is faced with doing the undone, living within the limits, enjoying what we are given and suffering the losses. I find it more person than gender related.
While not yet available at bookstores in South Africa, Aging and Becoming is available via Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in paperback or Kindle form, or e-mail [email protected]