The Country of Surprise: New questions to ask - Skip to content

The Country of Surprise: New questions to ask


Understanding Unexpected Later Life Shifts

It’s one thing to talk about aging looking forward; quite another to view it from within that mature skin. In How Did I Get to Be 70 When I’m 35 Inside? 70-year-old Linda Douty offers a delightful “new paradigm” roadmap for conscious aging, focusing on the landscape of surprise in seven stages: Surprises of the Self, Body, Relationships, and the Sacred; to Surprising Challenges, Gifts, and Wisdom.

The more than fifty elders she interviewed pulled no punches, yet their honesty conveys humor and acceptance, even joy, as people embrace the freedom to finally express the totality of who they are, without apology or restraint.

Understanding Reverse Mortgage Clients

Since many reverse mortgage professionals may be closer to 35 than to 70, Douty’s book offers a useful peek inside your prospects’ minds.

I especially enjoyed her take on how, as we age, we tend to experience weight gain and memory loss — along with a shrewd way to ameliorate this change: “Our culture seems much more obsessed with what we feed our bodies than what we feed our minds. How many calories? How much fiber? But our minds take ‘bites’ from a huge buffet of offerings — violent movies, TV sitcoms, trashy novels, idle gossip — all junk food for the brain. To retain any measure of hope and optimism, we must become aware of our own complicity in this junk-food diet.”

Then there’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom. One senior gentleman told her with a grin, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

To open a deeper dialogue with your reverse mortgage prospects, consider adapting one or more of Douty’s inquiries. The seniors you meet with will likely be happily surprised that their reverse mortgage professional is taking such a dedicated interest in their lives. Douty’s questions include:

1. What has surprised you most about aging?
2. What have you discovered about yourself that you didn’t know before?
3. How would you complete the sentence, “I’ve always wanted to …”
4. What has been your greatest challenge in growing older?
5. Your greatest joy?
6. How old do you feel inside?

Sooner or later, if we’re fortunate enough, we’ll all become residents in the country of surprise. This is your invitation to visit, and return with wisdom gained.


Leave a Comment


  1. These are great questions, I know from my experience that the clients I serve love it when you ask real relevant questions. Thank you for this great insight Amara, Great Job!

  2. Sounds like a very interesting read. I’m looking forward to it!

  3. It is always interesting to read what others have to say about the aging process. While the CSA itself might not be as recognized as many of us wish, the education was fascinating; it was worth the cost.

    While I am 7 years the junior of the author at the time of writing, she has some interesting things to say. As some my age say, the problem with hair as one ages is it turns shades you wish it didn’t, stops growing in places you wish it would, and now grows in places you wish it did not. Like many my age, I am just grateful I wake up on this side of the grave.

    Nice job, Amara.

  4. Thanks Eric, Tyler and The Critic. I’m honored to be of service, and especially to read such positive comments from all of you! And btw, these days 63 is a veritable youngster 🙂

  5. Thanks Amara, Do you have some things published? I did not glean that from the article.


  6. Hi RDF,

    I’m not sure what you’re asking: have I published articles about aging? Yes. Happy to send links. I’m also widely published in other genres. Feel free to email me at the address in my bio.

    Thanks and blessings,

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