Book review – Life Reimagined by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

25776251To be completely honest, when I first started listening to Life Reimagined, I was filled with dread and regret: I’m going to die alone, immobile and demented! It’s a hard book to read when you’re in the middle of questioning all your life decisions (what I thought was a mild “mid-life crisis”, but this book points out that mid-life crises don’t exist). This book doesn’t sugar coat the science, so it can be tough to read. But, it’s also incredibly interesting.

Hagerty lays out the truth of mid-life: we all think that this is when life takes a downward turn, and the choices we make now can certainly have major impacts on our health and well-being in the future, but mid-life is full of new possibilities and opportunities to explore new hobbies and new purposes. As the summary states, “It’s the time to renegotiate your purpose, refocus your relationships, and transform the way you think about the world and yourself.”

Hagerty looks at biology, genetics, sociology, neurology, psychology, and how they all link together, affecting our health and relationships. She ties these to our potential futures, lining our current choices with our future physical and mental health.

I was particularly interested (and worried) about the correlation between mental health (depression, dementia, etc.) and our social lives. Essentially, we all need to remember to stay connected with friends and family, even if we are introverts who’d rather stay at home with a good book. Thankfully, for those of us who still want to read more than we socialize, reading is good for our brains, too.

What I loved best about this book was that Hagerty was honest about the data, but she wasn’t doom and gloom – she focused on the good and showed how even little changes are correlated with good outcomes. Essentially, we all need to eat better, walk more, read on occasion, learn new things on occasion, and stay connected. This is not new information for most of us, but it was nice to see if outlined in the context of middle age.

I enjoyed reading this book, though, as mentioned at the start, it was a bit tough at times. It’s easy to feel we’re failing to lead the “perfect” life, but I kept reminding myself that if I could do just 75% of what Hagerty says I should be doing, then I’m doing better than before. And, I’m both improving my future and my current mental and physical health.

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