As many books as I have published, I still feel a flush of pride and privilege when a new edition comes out. So it is with great pleasure that I can announce two new editions. One is in Japanese, to be published on June 15 by CCC Media House. I met Kaoru Kobayashi, the editor, and Masako Tagaya, the translator, in Tokyo recently and was impressed with the care and enthusiasm they are lavishing on the book. That is something I don’t take for granted, having endured an embarrassingly sloppy foreign translation.
I’m also proud to announce, in the American market (and soon in the U.K.), the publication of Happiness Curve in paperback, with a new afterword, called “Aging Proudly.” After the book came out in hardcover, I came to think I had made encore careers and post-midlife realignment sound too smooth and easy. Ageism is arguably the most pervasive form of discrimination in the developed world, and it is a significant barrier to repurposing in later adulthood. Just as bad, it wastes acres and acres of human potential.
One other baleful effect of ageism, which is especially significant in the context of the happiness curve: it feeds the misconception that our best years are behind us after middle age. That misconception, in turn, backflows into middle age by making us unduly pessimistic. We imagine if we’re not satisfied by 50, we never will be—which makes us even more unsatisfied. The emotional reality of aging is the opposite of the stereotype. Once we see late adulthood as a time of emotional strength and growth, we will not only be better able, as a society, to harness the huge potential of people in their sixties, seventies, and even eighties; we will also be better able, as individuals, to understand the true arc of our life.
To fight ageism, the first and biggest step is to recalibrate our attitudes. We need to stop seeing late adulthood as a time of decline and sadness and instead seeing it as a time of renewed potential and often enviable contentment. Nowadays, you won’t hear me calling a memory slip a senior moment, or pretending to be embarrassed or apologetic about my age. It’s a change entirely for the better!
I’m thankful to St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to add this important dimension to the book, and I hope you’ll investigate it. The new paperback edition is available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and, as they say, wherever fine books are sold.