Greenwich’s Joan Lunden gets candid with aging in her new book
Greenwich resident Joan Lunden, former longtime co-host of “Good Morning America,” award-winning journalist and author of several books on health issues, released her newest book, “Why Did I Come Into This Room? A Candid Conversation About Aging,” in March. She describes this stage of aging as “too old for Snapchat, too young for LifeAlert.” From leaky bladders to loss of libido, Lunden is not shy about taking on subjects few are reluctant to talk about. Using humor and science, she candidly gives women — and the men in their lives — a playbook on what to expect and how to enjoy this stage of life. She recently spoke with Andrea Valluzzo about her book.
Andrea Valluzzo: How did you decide to write this book?
Joan Lunden: You always have that feeling after you turn in a book that you squeezed every last thought out of your head and you’ll never have another book to write. I remember a book agent once said to me after I turned in a book... He said, ‘Don’t worry, you will always write about what you want to know more about.’ And never a truer thing was said.
AV: How did you become so passionate about reporting on health issues?
JL: My dad was a cancer surgeon. I used to see everybody always stop us as a family everywhere we went, embrace my dad and thank him for saving their their life or taking care of a family member so that’s what I always wanted to be. I always wanted to be a doctor. but I didn’t do it. I worked in a hospital for a few short months and that taught me that I was probably not going to make my living with a scalpel and needle. I always loved being on the health beat on “Good Morning America.” Since leaving the show, I have really decided to focus on the dissemination of health information.
AV: In your new book, you talk about a pivot point. What is that?
JL: I think when you get to the point where all of us boomers are into your late 50s and into your 60s, I think you have a pivot point. You kind of exhale and take a little time even if you’re still going a thousand miles an hour like me. You take that time you should to be a little bit more contemplative. We give ourselves permission to reflect on life and how we have navigated lots and lots of challenges. Do we still have dreams we never actualized? I think it allows you to pivot and say in today’s world at 65 I could have another 30 years.
AV: Why are so many issues that women go through with aging not talked about?
JL: We share everything these days, we probably all over share on social media but somehow these issues women naturally and biologically are going to all go through — hot flashes, forgetfulness, expanding waistlines, weak pelvic floor, leaky bladders, hard time going to sleep… but if we are not all talking about it we all experience them by ourselves. That often leads us to think “Oh, there’s something wrong with me.” It makes women all too often feel less desirable, less appealing, less sexy and less relevant. So I wanted to try to lift the taboo. I don’t think any of these things should be taboo subjects.
AV: Is this book only for women of a certain age?
JL: I hope a lot of younger women read this book because it is kind of a playbook so they know what to expect and understand why it’s happening, It’s so sad most women don’t talk to doctors about any of these issues because there are fixes for a lot of these issues or at least small life changes. If you understand what you are doing to make a weak pelvic floor worse or other things you can do to help it, and of course, there are medical things doctors can do these days to help. It’s really important for me to talk about women and make them understand but this is not something that’s wrong with them: these are natural things that happen as we age that women go through.