Narratives of Positive Aging: Seaside Stories
by : Amia Lieblich
In Narratives of Positive Aging, Amia Lieblich presents a qualitative study that explores the life narratives of elderly men and women who engage in practices of "positive aging." They belong to a spontaneous community that assembles daily, early in the morning, on a beach near Tel-Aviv, Israel. At the seaside, the elders practice various outdoor sports, and converse over coffee at the local café. Based on their narratives, procured by individual open-ended interviews, and the author's participant observation, the book explores the impact of routine, physical activity, and social relationships on successful aging. Lieblich additionally presents an analysis of the tension-minimizing discourse adopted at the café and the pleasant bubble-like environment it fosters amongst the community members. Finally, the book debates the adaptive role of narrating one's life story, and its perceived manifestation of wisdom. A combination of complete life stories and extracts of conversations recorded on the beach color every chapter. These texts are complimented and elucidated by a variety of academic claims, theories and findings concerning narratives and aging. This book, based on an Israeli field study, may be viewed both as a local case study as well as a lesson relevant to aging everywhere.