“The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully” by Morrie Schwartz and Son/Editor Rob Schwartz (Book Excerpt)

To provide insights on how to defeat ageism and age-casting and instead live vibrantly at any age, below are book excerpts from “The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully” (2023) by the late Morrie Schwartz (beloved subject of “Tuesdays with Morrie” that sold 18 million copies) and his Son/Editor Rob Schwartz.

Foreword – By Rob Schwartz

Dad saw how elderly or aging people had been made to feel less worthy than others, and he hoped this book would be part of a movement to correct that.

The psychological aspect (related to dad’s professional and academic training) is the backdrop. He hoped to offer practical techniques to help people maintain an active and vibrant life. Some of the suggestions may feel familiar—the idea of using laughter, for instance (chapter four). It’s a practice that many have written about more recently. Another concept that pervades these pages is Buddhist mindfulness.

Book Excerpts – By Author Morrie Schwartz

Hope and Despair (Chapter Three)

To lead a joyous, fulfilling life, we must develop a balance that favors hope over despair, and find ways of easing or reducing despair so that hope predominates.

It is a rare person who hasn’t, at various times in life, experienced both hope and despair. As we grow older, the tension between these two opposites may become stronger, and the need to reconcile and bring them into some kind of harmonious equilibrium may become more intense. Whether hope and despair reside in us side by side, evenly balanced at a particular time, or one dominates, or they alternate over time, they are emotions that require our attention if we are to come to terms with aging.

It can be helpful to see these feelings as on a continuum, with abject despair on one end and unbridled hope on the other.….

Hope is the belief that certain wishes are attainable. Hope fills your life with brightness, zest, eagerness, and a forward-looking attitude. Hope enables you to keep on—to continue fighting, resisting, and working against the stacked odds. It enables you to not accept defeat in difficult situations. It motivates you to try to prevail by inspiring confidence in a beneficent future. Where the despairing side says, “Why bother? It isn’t worth it” and is ready to give up, the hopeful side believes that things will change, that positive possibilities will blossom into actualities. Hope is associated with the life force and produces the exertion of will and determination not to give in to adversity. Whereas despair says, “Give up,” hope says, “Hold on.” With despair, everything is too hard. With hope, you feel that you can and will endure. In despair, you might surrender to a passive life that is a form of death. With hope, life pulsates in an uninterrupted stream of ongoing actions.

Ageism and Age-Casting (Chapter Five)

Ageism is a stigmatizing prejudice that denigrates older people, discriminates against us, denies our humanity, and reduces our opportunity to lead satisfying and worthwhile lives. It is a deeply laid attitude in most people. It is so unwitting and unconscious that we often don’t recognize it when we are its victims, and we are just as clueless when we are its perpetrators.

We are typecast, as some actors are, into restricted stereotyped roles—specifically, the role of “old person” (and its many subsets). We are placed in a separate category of being. It is a role we are expected to play into the indefinite future—a role with negative expectations, a role that is circumscribed by belittling demands and limitations. When the stamp of disapproval in the form of ageism is added to that of age-casting, we are then burdened with identities that confine, demean, and diminish us as vital human beings and separate us from the rest of society. Thus, we are not seen as the real people we are, but as mere shadows cast by ageist projections.

But we don’t have to be dominated by ageist or age-cast expectations. We can pursue our chosen goals even—or especially—if they run counter to these expectations.

We, too, can be what is generally considered the province of the young: enthusiastic, lively, engaged, vital, burning with passion, forward-looking, and optimistic.

In general, American society worships youth, and our TV culture promotes that worship and esteems superficial beauty over character.

We may not always realize when ageism and age-casting are contributing to our low self-esteem, feelings of hopeless- ness, withdrawal, or a simple case of the “blahs.” By the same token, recognizing this ageism and rejecting it in our minds and hearts can help us feel happier and stronger and renew our confidence and motivation.

These age-casting and ageist attitudes are clearly not held by everyone, nor are they projected onto everyone who is older. Some outliers—exceptional seniors with remarkable personality or talent, or who have high status or power and wealth—may be exempt from this stigmatization. But ageism and age-casting are common enough that the vast majority of older people must suffer them in one form or another.

Seeing Through the Lie

While we cannot change our society and its treatment of the elderly overnight, we can work toward change, and we can certainly change whatever ageism we have in ourselves that limits us and keeps us from living fully and fulfillingly in later life.

Some thoughts to live by:

  • In older age, expect the worst. If it doesn’t come, be grateful.
  • In older age, expect the best. If you don’t get it, wonder why.
  • Old age must be the greatest time of all, for it was left till the end.
  • Everyone has a right to be what they were meant to be, that is, to fulfill their potential.
  • Old age can be the best time of our life or the worst time of our life. It depends on what we do with it.

For more information, visit Https://WisdomofMorrie.com.



MORRIE SCHWARTZ (Dec 1916- Nov 1995, passed from ALS at age 78), the beloved subject of the classic, multimillion-copy number one bestseller “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, posthumously releases a new book with his Son/Editor Rob Schwartz called “The Wisdom of Morrie” (April 2023). In his new book, Morrie explores life questions in a profound, poetic, and poignant masterpiece of living and aging joyfully and creatively. Morrie was a professor of Sociology and Social Psychology for 30+ years at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, before retiring at age 70. Morrie wrote on a variety of topics. Morrie was dedicated to social justice and valuing human beings.

ROB SCHWARTZ (Waltham, Mass, near Boston) is the Son and Editor of his fathers’ book on aging titled “The Wisdom of Morrie” (Blackstone Publishing, April 2023). He has many years of experience as a journalist, music/film producer, and entrepreneur. Rob has founded a number of companies and been in a Music/Film Producer in both Japan and the U.S. Rob has also been reporting for Billboard magazine on Asia since 2007. As one of the producers of Onetopia, the team is organizing a benefit music festival slated to support mental health charities in 2024. Rob’s work and late father Morrie Schwartz’s new book (“The Wisdom of Morrie”, 2023) have recently been featured on Good Morning America, Nightline, PBS NewsHour, NBC10 Boston and in WebMD, Psychology Today, Reader’s Digest, People, and many podcasts.




Post a Comment