Welcome Kenneth Bennett to the Age is Just a Number Series talking 54 and the environment

Today on the Age is Just a Number blog series, I have Kenneth Bennett, author of the sci-fi thriller, Exodus 2022, expressing his thoughts on life at 54 and his passion for the environment. I especially enjoyed his comments about redefining the meaning of middle-aged.

LIFE AT 54

I’m 54 years old and having a blast. I have an amazing wife, a wonderful son (now in his first year in college) an incredible extended family and passions—writing, environmental activism, swimming, backpacking, cycling, skiing—that keep me fired up and looking forward. I’m blessed to be able to hang out with funny, positive people who inspire me.  Three of the guys in my masters swimming group recently swam the Straits of Juan de Fuca, from Port Angeles to Vancouver Island (11 miles, 7 hours, 54 degree water). Their ages: 56, 58, and 60. There’s a 70-year-old dude in my cross fit class who lifts weights like a teenager and has the resting heart rate of a sword fern. People like this have caused me to reconsider what it means to be middle aged (and older) and to reject the cultural stereotypes foisted on all age groups.

Of course, like anyone who’s lived more than a couple decades, I’ve lost people dear to me. Witnessed my share of unhappy events. I’m fully aware that life can turn on a dime, that an accident or illness can sabotage the most carefully arranged plans. I try to take things day by day, and right now, I’m enjoying life more than I ever have. I’m comfortable with who I am and the path I’m on, excited about the future.

Perhaps because I am more aware of my mortality these days, I have more clarity about what really matters and what makes me happy.

One of the things that makes me happy is working on environmental causes. The planet is in dire shape. We’re losing species and habitat at an alarming rate. The U.S. Congress is now in the hands of people who set climate policy based on what Fox News pundits tell them to do vs. what scientists recommend. Writing about these things (in novels, articles, blog posts, tweets, and so on) is something I feel compelled to do. Also it’s cathartic. If I couldn’t write about this stuff I think I’d go mad. Example—my wife and I visited Yellowstone National Park in late October. It was just starting to get cold.  Vibrant fall colors. Wildlife everywhere. Not many tourists. We headed for the Lamar Valley, our favorite part of the park—the place where wolves were reintroduced in 1995 and ‘96. The wolves were there. Hunting. Playing with their pups. Living their lives. One evening—right at sunset—we watched four black wolves, likely from the 8-Mile Pack, trotting along a ridge against a platinum sky. It was a magical scene I won’t ever forget.

Sadly, wolf hunting is legal outside the park and the 2014 season has been a bloodbath.  Fifty one wolves have been taken in the Montana hunt since it opened in September—including some wearing radio collars—collars used by Yellowstone wildlife biologists to learn about wolf migration and behavior. Believe it or not, for some hunters, killing a collar-wearing Yellowstone wolf—a wolf that during its lifetime delighted tens of thousands of park visitors—is like winning the lottery. An achievement to be celebrated and bragged about on Facebook. The only way I can deal with this stuff is to write about it, work to educate people and fight for better laws. By the way, I’m not anti-hunting. I grew up hunting with my dad and brother-in-laws in Arizona and Alaska. I eat meat. What I’m against is trophy hunting and the senseless killing of highly intelligent, highly social animals that depend on intact family units—packs—to survive.

I’m optimistic that we will find ways out of this and other environmental messes we’ve created and I believe well-crafted stories can play a role. EXODUS 2022, my new sci-fi thriller, has received more than 100 reviews on Amazon to date and many readers mentioned that the book caused them to think about the planet, and other species, in new ways. One of my favorite comments came just a few weeks ago, from the educational curator of the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island: “… A must-read for anyone who cares about the oceans, wildlife, and the environment, and likes to think that the animals will win in the end. It’s my new happy place… Kudos to the author for creating a really imaginative way out of this environmental mess we’ve made of our planet.”

Such feedback keeps me writing, gives me hope and helps me stay focused, motivated and moving forward.

Thank you Meredith Schorr for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts!

Sincerely,

Kenneth G. Bennett

KenBennett

Amazon buy link for EXODUS 2022:
twitter: @kennethgbennett

 

 

Coming soon:

How Do You Know? (December 2nd)

What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach? On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number. 
 

Christina Boyd, 46, shares her thoughts & fears on aging – Age is Just a Number

Thank you, Christina Boyd (reviewer, editor, social media specialist, publicist), for your honest thoughts below on aging. I see a lot of my own thoughts and fears in this post.

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AGE IS JUST A NUMBER by Christina Boyd

  1. Four away from 50. Four away from half a century. If I dwell on the number, I might hyperventilate. Or at least get that tight, squeezy feeling I have been starting to experience these last few years when in confined spaces.

I used to think that age was but a number. And that really, if I was satisfied with my life, happy with who I was with, what I was doing, where I was… then getting older was no big deal. That was when I was 25. Newly married to a dashing naval officer and had recently re-invented myself from a chipper, efficient flight attendant, and before that, a glory seeking pageant winner/wannabe model/college co-ed. But before I had re-invented myself many more times. Small business woman. Mother. Artist. Campaigner. Book reviewer. Book editor. And book publicity manager. Regardless, I know for a fact that 25 year old Christina would have thought a 46 year old was old. Definitely old. Not ancient, but certainly middle age.

So back to 46. And being 4 years from the big 5-0. It scares the hell out of me! There. I said it. Mostly because I recognize the new lines on my face and increasing number of greying hairs as surely proof of my own mortality. And damn, if each new birthday doesn’t mean Death is sneaking closer. Scary thought indeed. Thankfully my favorite aesthetician reminded me at my last birthday that I should wear my age like a badge and that each line or grey hair is really an indication of the growth and achievement, regardless of breadth. (Bless her heart. Obviously she is also very good at an hour’s worth of rejuvenating my soul as she expertly sands those lines off my face.)

Not long ago, I started reading the obituaries while having my morning cuppa and have found I am morbidly fascinated about these strangers’ lives, regardless of how big or small a mark they left. (Another sign of aging when I started reading the obits?) I was struck with how one of the dearly departed was described as having “completed his 80th trip around the sun.” What an exciting sentiment! Each year, an adventure around the sun. I have become so enchanted with that idea that now when I wish someone happy birthday, I prefer to congratulate on successfully completing another trip around the sun.

I wish I was always as confident about growing old gracefully as I endeavor to appear. Alas, there seems to be so much left on my Bucket List, and while checking things off of my Daily Task Lists and often feeling subjected to the schedule alerts on my iPhone, I wonder if I am making progress towards any of those Bucket List items. With grim thoughts like that, it doesn’t take much to start identifying with the Fanny Price character in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.” Mostly that’s just on dreary, blustery days as the days grow shorter and darker. So I do what I tell my kids, go outside. Take a run. Get some fresh air. And as I breathe deeply, despite a near constant cover of clouds and rain this time of year, I start to relax here in the lush, verdant Pacific Northwest. Take another cathartic breath. And it doesn’t take long before I am reminded of all the blessings that indeed fill me up. Soon all those niggling thoughts about schedule alerts start to come into perspective.  Usually by the time I am finished my run (or walk), I am feeling more patient, more generous and more energized. Not old at all.

As fifty looms near, I confess I may not be comfortable with the idea of aging (though I am strongly against the alternative), I am hopeful by the prospect of another adventure around the sun. And with any luck, 46 more trips. Like my new daily regime of reading the obituaries, I must remember to stop, take a breath and count my daily blessings. Because when I am 92, wouldn’t it be a shame to reflect how my younger self worried about all the wrong things?

Christina Boyd wears many hats as she reviews for Austenprose.com, is an editor at Meryton Press, is a social media specialist and publicist at a hybrid publisher, Booktrope, and is a ceramicist for the Made in Washington stores under her own banner Stir Crazy Mama’s Artworks. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest (not 5 miles from the Canadian border) with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers and a retriever named BiBi. After reading The Six major Jane Austen works, her thirst for more could not be slaked, despite discovering on-line fan fiction, purchasing all the movie adaptations, attending Jane Austen Society of North America Annual General Meetings and becoming a life member of JASNA. Visiting Jane Austen’s England remains on her bucket list. Connect with Christina on twitter: @xtnaboyd

 

Coming soon:

How Do You Know (December 2nd)

What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach?

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.

 

 

 

 

Dishing biological deadlines with Emily Clanton – Age is Just a Number

Today on the Age is Just a Number blog series, I’m very pleased to welcome Emily Clanton, Social Media Manager for Booktrope and self-proclaimed “social media geek.” Emily works tirelessly to promote Booktrope authors and so I am thrilled to turn the spotlight on her. Emily talks, not about a specific age, but about those […]

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Welcome Samantha Stroh Bailey to the Age is Just a Number series. Let’s talk 41!

Welcome, Samantha Stroh Bailey to the Age is Just a Number series. Not only is Sam the author of Finding Lucas, one of my favorite books, and a cofounder of BookBuzz (along with Francine LaSala and me), she is also one of my favorite people and among my best friends. She’s talking 41.   I am Forty-One. […]

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Welcome author Justin Bog to the Age is Just a Number series – fearing 40!

HarkAChristmasCollection

I am pleased to welcome Justin Bog, author of the newly released Hark—A Christmas Collection, to the Age is Just a Number blog series. I enjoyed hearing a man’s perspective on aging. Today, Justin talks about his fortieth birthday. And keeping reading for an excerpt from Hark—A Christmas Collection. The Age I Fear . . […]

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K.M. Randall is “getting over” birthdays as the Age is Just a Number series continues

kmrandall

Please give a warm welcome to K.M. Randall, author of Fractured Dream and The Reaper’s Daughter, to the Age is Just a Number blog series. K.M. dishes fearing the big 2.5. and how she finally no longer dreads birthdays. Getting over birthdays My hatred of birthdays began when I was twenty-two. I could already see […]

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Author Julie Farley talks turning 41 on the Age is Just a Number blog series

JulieFarley

Welcome Julie Farley, author of The New Ever After book series, to the Age is Just a Number blog series! I love reading about individuals learning to accept themselves, warts and all. Not that I think Julie has any warts, of course. Keep reading for her thoughts on turning forty-one. When Harry Met Sally was […]

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Talking 60 with author Arleen Williams – Age is Just a Number

face

Welcome, Arleen Williams, author of the Alki Trilogy, to the Age is Just a Number series. While reading Arleen’s wisdom-soaked post, I was moved to begin enjoying each and every moment of my life to its fullest. If only it wasn’t easier said than done… The Final Third “It’s time to start buying bananas one […]

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Age is Just a Number Series – Julia Park Tracey talks turning 31

JuliaParkTracey

I love this post by Julia Park Tracey, author of the upcoming Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop, on how differently she felt turning 31 compared to turning 30. I especially love her thoughts at the end on getting older in general. Enjoy!                       When I’m 31 – […]

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Age is Just a Number Series: Author Hilary Grossman talks turning 25

Hilary in present day

Welcome Hilary Grossman, author of Dangled Carat, and my friend and fellow Booktrope author to my blog. Hilary compares how she imagined she would feel turning twenty-five with the reality of her feelings on that day. (PS: Happy Birthday, Hilary!!) It all started in September. I wasn’t able to put my finger on what was […]

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