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Playwright and Jungian analyst Florida Scott-Maxwell explores the unique predicament of one''s later years: when one feels both cut off from the past and out of step with the present; when the body rebels at activity but the mind becomes more passionate than ever. Written when Maxwell was in her eighties, The Measure of My Days offers a panoramic vision of the issues that haunt us throughout our lives: the struggle to achieve goodness; how to maintain individuality in a mass society; and how to emerge--out of suffering, loss, and limitation--with something approaching wisdom. Maxwell''s incredible wisdom, humanity, and dignity make The Measure of My Days both timeless and timely--an important contribution to the literature of aging, and of living.

About the Author

Florida Pier Scott-Maxwell (1883-1979) was a writer, playwright, and suffragist who took up a career in analytical psychology in 1933, studying under Carl Jung in both Scotland and England.

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4.3 out of 54.3 out of 5
92 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Nancy C Wilson
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
My favorite thought was this one
Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2016
This memoir was quite appropriate for me, seeing that she was 82 at the time of writing it, and I share that estimable age with her--altho she DOES come from an earlier era--and has a less outwardly involved life-style than mine--- However, many of her observations hit... See more
This memoir was quite appropriate for me, seeing that she was 82 at the time of writing it, and I share that estimable age with her--altho she DOES come from an earlier era--and has a less outwardly involved life-style than mine---
However, many of her observations hit home with me--about the disintegration of our outer selves, and the amazingly youthful inward energy we are still capable of---
Another point she makes is that a crucial task of aging is BALANCE--keeping just well enough, just brave enough, just gay & interessted enough, as well as STARKLY HONEST enough to remain a sentient human being--and of interest to other human beings!
My favorite thought was this one:
the long stretch of time we have lived gives us our viewpoint--we have watched generation after generation --and we see the same qualities in grandparents, parents, children working the same sad havoc--we saw the same wounds that we see now, caused in like manner long ago---
We would like to warn and teach, but we have learned it is almost useless.

anyway, this was a powerful ''notebook'' for me, and it fits nicely into a collection of journals coafter a certain age--ncerning the meanng of life
32 people found this helpful
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Linda C. Gilbert
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very personal and general at the same time - worth reading
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2018
I''m getting to the age where I am experiencing the feeling of being invisible to the world. This book affirms that "I" exists and that while we old folks might all look the same to those who are younger, that great depth of thought and feeling can keep developing... See more
I''m getting to the age where I am experiencing the feeling of being invisible to the world. This book affirms that "I" exists and that while we old folks might all look the same to those who are younger, that great depth of thought and feeling can keep developing until the end.
12 people found this helpful
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Larry V
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
becoming invisible yet defines life however inactive as enjoyment as accepting as oneself both successes and joys as ...
Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2015
I found this book from an article written by Parker Palmer in which he cited from her book, "you need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours... My mother and my mother-in-law recently died at the age of 93 and 91 and I watched their slow demise from... See more
I found this book from an article written by Parker Palmer in which he cited from her book, "you need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours... My mother and my mother-in-law recently died at the age of 93 and 91 and I watched their slow demise from active women. Ms. Scott-Maxwell captures my own thoughts about aging, slowing down, becoming invisible yet defines life however inactive as enjoyment as accepting as oneself both successes and joys as well as failures and sadness. Her thoughts are a confirmation of my own thoughts and unspoken feelings as well as an inspiration for defining my future aging. Well worth the read. I know I will refer back to her musings for strength.
20 people found this helpful
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Your Aunt Martha
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Recommended for persons who plan to grow old
Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2015
The writer was born Florida Piers into one of those British families who tried to settle in Florida. (Personal knowledge: many of them tried growing oranges but were defeated by a series of cold winters in the late 1800s; they fled.) As a small child she encountered... See more
The writer was born Florida Piers into one of those British families who tried to settle in Florida. (Personal knowledge: many of them tried growing oranges but were defeated by a series of cold winters in the late 1800s; they fled.) As a small child she encountered alligators and cotton-mouth moccasins; she survived, so the encounters are amusing rather than horrifying. This book is a summation of her long and productive life -- she was a playwright in the U.K. It is one of those books that are guideposts on the way to growing old. I had read it years ago and ordered a used copy to share with friends. So I am re-reading slowly and finding more in it this time around.
15 people found this helpful
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Nancy Jo Kemper
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Aging as freedom
Reviewed in the United States on November 25, 2018
Florida Scott-Maxwell penned exquisite paragraphs of insights about age, aging and being human. This is a book to savor and to read many times.
3 people found this helpful
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rochelle
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wisdom in Self Discovery
Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2019
I must return to this profound memoir filled with kernals of truth. Her insights reinforce the beauty of facing life''s challenges as one ages. It makes the ride worth it to know that you can achieve serenity if you do your individual inner work. Life makes demands of... See more
I must return to this profound memoir filled with kernals of truth. Her insights reinforce the beauty of facing life''s challenges as one ages.
It makes the ride worth it to know that you can achieve serenity if you do your individual inner work. Life makes demands of you. In answering its call you deepen your own awareness of awe.
3 people found this helpful
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Jeanne Marie Lambrianou
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Ineffable
Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2020
How to grab with words what can''t be hauled forward and shown to someone else, and yet she has done it. She has given me hope for my birthday, for all my birthdays to come. Thank you.
One person found this helpful
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maxiff
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not what I was looking for
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2020
The writing and attitudes expressed feel dated and out of step with the times. Not uplifting for me though elegantly expressed.
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MBJ
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wisdom for all ages
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 21, 2019
In our current age and death phobic culture it seems that any reflections on growing old are often considered ''too depressing'' and therefore discarded or avoided altogether. But in our avoidance perhaps we miss the wisdom of our elders, those who have traveled far and...See more
In our current age and death phobic culture it seems that any reflections on growing old are often considered ''too depressing'' and therefore discarded or avoided altogether. But in our avoidance perhaps we miss the wisdom of our elders, those who have traveled far and arrived at the destination safely. The author is not ''getting'' old they are ''already'' old. And so they have a wealth of experience to teach us something of the journey we ourselves are already making. I loved this book because it is poignant, funny, true to self and, above all, it creates a space between the lines which gave me a felt sense of the unexpected freedom of old age. The author, with her incisive diarist style , imparted to me both the loss and the potential liberation from previous constraints of my youth and middle years. It is a book that I will dip into both as a reminder of the universality of old age and when comfort is needed to reassure myself I am not traveling alone. I wish you good luck with your own journey.
In our current age and death phobic culture it seems that any reflections on growing old are often considered ''too depressing'' and therefore discarded or avoided altogether. But in our avoidance perhaps we miss the wisdom of our elders, those who have traveled far and arrived at the destination safely. The author is not ''getting'' old they are ''already'' old. And so they have a wealth of experience to teach us something of the journey we ourselves are already making.
I loved this book because it is poignant, funny, true to self and, above all, it creates a space between the lines which gave me a felt sense of the unexpected freedom of old age. The author, with her incisive diarist style , imparted to me both the loss and the potential liberation from previous constraints of my youth and middle years.
It is a book that I will dip into both as a reminder of the universality of old age and when comfort is needed to reassure myself I am not traveling alone. I wish you good luck with your own journey.
2 people found this helpful
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trizzie
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2015
Inspiring read
Inspiring read
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Brian Olley
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 19, 2016
Wonderful.
Wonderful.
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Dr. Volker Hoeper
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Gedanken am Ende eines Lebens.
Reviewed in Germany on April 9, 2020
Measure of My Days (English Edition) Kindle Eine 82-jährige alte Dame schreibt tagebuchartig ihre Gedanken auf. Diese Notizen sind nicht zur Veröffentlichung gedacht oder sollen sonst irgendeinem Zweck dienen. Dieses Notizbuch ist lediglich ein seelischer „Mülleimer“, ein...See more
Measure of My Days (English Edition) Kindle Eine 82-jährige alte Dame schreibt tagebuchartig ihre Gedanken auf. Diese Notizen sind nicht zur Veröffentlichung gedacht oder sollen sonst irgendeinem Zweck dienen. Dieses Notizbuch ist lediglich ein seelischer „Mülleimer“, ein Gesprächspartner, jemand dem sie ihre Gedanken mitteilt. Die Autorin berichtet über ihre Empfindungen am Ende eines langen Lebens. Sie ist zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht in irgendeiner Weise krank oder leidend. Sie ist in ihrer Lebensdauer nicht aktuell bedroht, aber sie weiß natürlich, dass es in relativer Kürze zu Ende ist. Sie ist einsam, sie ist allein. Sie hat zwar Kinder und Enkelkinder, aber letztendlich leben die ihr eigenes Leben. Sie kümmern sich und sie sorgen sich um sie. Aber eigentlich wollen sie nur hören, dass es ihr gut gehe und dass alles o. k. sei, und dass sie sich nicht kümmern müssen. Das kann und will sie ihnen nicht übel nehmen. Ihr Standardsatz bei den gelegentlichen, gut gemeinten Anfragen:“ Dont worry about me“. Und das ist genau das, was man von ihr hören möchte. Ihre Gedanken sind vielfältig. So bemerkt sie, dass die alten Menschen die Fehler, die die Jungen machen klar sehen, aber sie können nichts ändern. Die jungen Leute machen ihre Fehler und müssen sie auch machen, obwohl sie als alte, im Leben gereifte Person das sieht und eingreifen könnte. Aber sie weiß, man soll und kann gar nicht eingreifen. Letztendlich hat jede alte Generation von der ihr nachfolgenden Generation gesagt, dass früher alles besser gewesen sei, dass es sich jetzt zum Schlechten wende, dass man nicht wisse, wie es in der Welt weitergehen werde. Schon die „alten“ Römer sagten vor 2000 Jahren: „Die Jugend war noch nie so verdorben wie heute“. Gut gemeinten Hilfen werden natürlich nicht angenommen werden, auch die jetzt Alten haben diese gut gemeinten Ratschläge ihrer damaligen Eltern und Großeltern nicht angenommen. Interessant sind ihre Gedanken zur „Gleichmacherei“. Die Menschen sind nicht gleich. Es gibt laut der Autorin Herden-Menschen, die sich anpassen, die in der Herde mit trotten, und denen es dabei nicht schlecht ergeht. Sie ragen weder nach oben noch nach unten heraus. Sie sind die Masse. Sie überleben. Die Evolution hat das so bestimmt. Aber es gibt Menschen die ragen heraus, die sind differenzierter, voller Ideen, sie wollen etwas ändern, sie können auch etwas ändern. Diese Menschen werden in der Regel eher bekämpft als gefördert. Das Ideal ist immer die gleichmäßige, amorphe Masse. Aber die Menschheit braucht diese differenzierten, diese herausragenden Menschen um sich weiter zu entwickeln. Fazit der Autorin: Die Menschen sind nicht gleich, die Menschen sind verschieden. Das bedeutet nicht dass nicht gleiches Recht für alle gelten solle, vor dem Gesetz sind natürlich alle gleich. Aber ohne diese herausragenden Menschen würde die Entwicklung nicht weitergehen. Die Autorin ist voller Ideen, sie sieht ihr Leben und das Leben im Allgemeinen in klarem Licht. Sie genießt ihre einsamen Tage in melancholischer Gelassenheit. Sie habe Einiges versäumt, hätte Einiges anders machen sollen. Aber es war wie es war und es ist wie es ist. Sie erscheint eigentlich nicht traurig über ihr zu Ende gehendes Leben, sie ist nicht verbittert, sie hadert nicht.
Measure of My Days (English Edition) Kindle
Eine 82-jährige alte Dame schreibt tagebuchartig ihre Gedanken auf. Diese Notizen sind nicht zur Veröffentlichung gedacht oder sollen sonst irgendeinem Zweck dienen. Dieses Notizbuch ist lediglich ein seelischer „Mülleimer“, ein Gesprächspartner, jemand dem sie ihre Gedanken mitteilt.
Die Autorin berichtet über ihre Empfindungen am Ende eines langen Lebens. Sie ist zu diesem Zeitpunkt nicht in irgendeiner Weise krank oder leidend. Sie ist in ihrer Lebensdauer nicht aktuell bedroht, aber sie weiß natürlich, dass es in relativer Kürze zu Ende ist. Sie ist einsam, sie ist allein. Sie hat zwar Kinder und Enkelkinder, aber letztendlich leben die ihr eigenes Leben. Sie kümmern sich und sie sorgen sich um sie. Aber eigentlich wollen sie nur hören, dass es ihr gut gehe und dass alles o. k. sei, und dass sie sich nicht kümmern müssen. Das kann und will sie ihnen nicht übel nehmen. Ihr Standardsatz bei den gelegentlichen, gut gemeinten Anfragen:“ Dont worry about me“. Und das ist genau das, was man von ihr hören möchte.

Ihre Gedanken sind vielfältig. So bemerkt sie, dass die alten Menschen die Fehler, die die Jungen machen klar sehen, aber sie können nichts ändern. Die jungen Leute machen ihre Fehler und müssen sie auch machen, obwohl sie als alte, im Leben gereifte Person das sieht und eingreifen könnte. Aber sie weiß, man soll und kann gar nicht eingreifen. Letztendlich hat jede alte Generation von der ihr nachfolgenden Generation gesagt, dass früher alles besser gewesen sei, dass es sich jetzt zum Schlechten wende, dass man nicht wisse, wie es in der Welt weitergehen werde. Schon die „alten“ Römer sagten vor 2000 Jahren: „Die Jugend war noch nie so verdorben wie heute“. Gut gemeinten Hilfen werden natürlich nicht angenommen werden, auch die jetzt Alten haben diese gut gemeinten Ratschläge ihrer damaligen Eltern und Großeltern nicht angenommen.

Interessant sind ihre Gedanken zur „Gleichmacherei“. Die Menschen sind nicht gleich. Es gibt laut der Autorin Herden-Menschen, die sich anpassen, die in der Herde mit trotten, und denen es dabei nicht schlecht ergeht. Sie ragen weder nach oben noch nach unten heraus. Sie sind die Masse. Sie überleben. Die Evolution hat das so bestimmt. Aber es gibt Menschen die ragen heraus, die sind differenzierter, voller Ideen, sie wollen etwas ändern, sie können auch etwas ändern. Diese Menschen werden in der Regel eher bekämpft als gefördert. Das Ideal ist immer die gleichmäßige, amorphe Masse. Aber die Menschheit braucht diese differenzierten, diese herausragenden Menschen um sich weiter zu entwickeln. Fazit der Autorin: Die Menschen sind nicht gleich, die Menschen sind verschieden. Das bedeutet nicht dass nicht gleiches Recht für alle gelten solle, vor dem Gesetz sind natürlich alle gleich. Aber ohne diese herausragenden Menschen würde die Entwicklung nicht weitergehen.
Die Autorin ist voller Ideen, sie sieht ihr Leben und das Leben im Allgemeinen in klarem Licht.
Sie genießt ihre einsamen Tage in melancholischer Gelassenheit. Sie habe Einiges versäumt, hätte Einiges anders machen sollen. Aber es war wie es war und es ist wie es ist. Sie erscheint eigentlich nicht traurig über ihr zu Ende gehendes Leben, sie ist nicht verbittert, sie hadert nicht.
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Arlene Holberton
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I am glad I purchased it
Reviewed in Canada on May 5, 2018
This book is far more interesting than I thought it would be. I am glad I purchased it.
This book is far more interesting than I thought it would be. I am glad I purchased it.
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