After losing it all, one woman’s re-invention at age 60

 

The writer Meredith Maran found, at age 60, that the future she envisioned for her life turned out to be “a dream, not a plan.”

After losing her best friend to cancer, she lost her beloved wife to divorce.  Then, she found herself leaving her beloved home and community in Oakland, moving hundreds of miles away, to the last place on earth on her geographical wish-list, Los Angeles. As she adjusted to an age-unfriendly workplace in this new city, her father passed away.

Maran knew she was lucky to find a job at all at her age, but in the midst of all this loss, misery was her prevailing sentiment.  Bit by bit, she reconstructed her existence, a story of resilience she chronicles in her new book, The New Old Me: My Late-Life Reinvention.  Even as you wallow in her profound sadness, it’s a delightful read, for her humor and capacity for survival eke out through the darkness even before she sees light again.  You just know she’s going to make it, even if it’s not clear just how.

Touring around to the promote book, Maran’s encountering attentive audience members in their thirties and forties, seeking guidance about re-invention of both a personal and professional nature.  She’s still surprised by the “mortal fear” of some people to any mention of aging.

Now, five years later, Maran is settled in to her new life, and has learned, “I’m officially allergic to the phrase, ‘I know what’s going to happen next.'” She’s finding herself more open to new people and experiences than ever before.

We’ll be talking about her book and her attitude toward growing older on Friday, May 26th in West Hollywood in the Council Chambers at the magnificent public library there.  The panel is called, aptly, “It’s Never Too Late: Late Life Reinventions, Reflections and No Regrets.” Joining the conversation, too, is the hilarious essayist Annabelle Gurwitch.  Join us if you can; it’s free.