When Kim Kane began to notice that she was going through some peculiar signs of aging, she decided to ask other women if they had experienced the same thing, and she spoke to well over 200 of them. That was the springboard for Kane’s first book, Sparkle On: Women Aging in Gratitude.
“We got some friends together and from there we talked to about 15 women’s groups,” says Kane. “It was interesting to me how many people were filled with these great pieces of information and stories.” At first, Kane thought the book would be about advice and tales from women who had seen it all when it came to getting older, but the project soon turned to include more of her own viewpoint. “It became a more personal take on different things we experience in life,” she says. “I have things from trying to find underwear that fits all the way to the loss of loved ones and dementia and Alzheimer's.”
Good or bad, funny or tragic, Kane relies on gratitude to guide her through life’s journeys. “The gratitude piece for me is important, simply because that’s where everything I do stems from,” says Kane. She believes it helps to quell the negativity that we often find in our day-to-day lives. “I don’t mean to be Pollyanna,” she says, “but it’s more about empowering than dismissing.”
Kane’s book aims to empower women not only with thoughts of gratitude, but also with the idea that they should live life to fullest as they age. “I think it’s important for women to really reimagine what their life can be, rather than think of it as heading toward the end,” says Kane. “This time in our lives we are at our best selves. We are in a position of having [so much experience.]"
Kane, who is now 58, is a role model for finding new passions and activities at a later age. She’s spent 35 years working in education, currently serving as dean of students at Eden Prairie High School. She started working on her book at 50, compiling her interviews over the next year and writing three to four nights a week at Plymouth Library after work (and a trip to Starbucks). Her book was published a few years later when she was 56.
It’s a powerful message to share with an age group that may not always feel relevant. “Typically, women have been seen as caregivers. We give, give, give to others and we’re not so great at giving to ourselves,” says Kane. “When kids are gone, or loved ones have passed on, or we just aren’t needed in that role as much, we’re not used to saying ‘Okay, so what would I like to do?’” She says this is in contrast to aging men, who are frequently thought of as wise and looked to for advice. “Women become invisible,” says Kane. “We start to wonder what our place is and if we have anything to offer anymore.” That is the myth that Kane is out to bust for good.
Sparkle On: Women Aging in Gratitude is available in bookstores, on Amazon and through Kane's website. The book was awarded the Bronze prize in the women’s issues category of the Independent Publisher Book Award competition earlier this year. To sign up for Kane's newsletter or listen to the latest episode of her podcast Oatmeal, Pearls, & Bourbon, visit kimkaneandgratitude.com. You'll also find information about upcoming events and be the first to hear about her second book, currently in the works. Kane is also available for presentations.