mapping a foreign country

It was May Sarton who wrote “The trouble is, old age is not interesting until one gets there. It’s a foreign country with an unknown language to the young and even to the middle-aged.” I came across the quote in this lovely blog post by Judy Fox, and it’s a metaphor that bears reflection. It reminds me of a reckoning I finally arrived at, long after losing my way in what was to become This Chair Rocks

What if online dating sites omitted age & age range?

A recent wedding announcement in the New York Times recorded the happy pairing of a couple that met through “America’s Test Kitchen.” He founded the TV show and hired her ten years ago. He’s 62; she’s 37. The announcement ended with this paragraph:  “Both say they have never really given much thought to the difference in their ages. ‘Others may have concerns, but we don’t,’ he said.

"Your power as a younger woman is measured by the distance you can keep between you and older women."

A friend recently put me in touch with Sharon Raphael, a gerontologist and Professor Emerita of Sociology at California State University and an early member of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change. Their primary mission, Raphael wrote me, was “to fight and educate about ageism as it affects women and Lesbians and others within and without the lgbt community.” I’d heard of the organization, was pleased that Raphael thinks my work is on the right track, and am grateful for a lengthy email “about our herstory so you don't have to reinvent the wheel.”

 

finding beauty, silencing complaints — two stories

About 35 members of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) heard my talk last week as the last of a week of free workshops. RSVP “connects individuals who are 55+ to meaningful volunteer opportunities throughout New York City.” Since people who do meaningful work on a regular basis aren’t retired, RSVP is a lousy name, as director Meredith Gemeiner readily admits. But it’s a good program, the volunteers liked what I had to say, and two of them told great stories during the follow-up conversation.  

 

a "fresh voice in age studies"

Readers of this blog know how much the work of eminent cultural critic Margaret Gullette has informed my thinking. A Resident Scholar at Brandeis University, she couldn't make it to my talk at the Cooper Union but her envoys reported back enthusiastically. This week she generously recommended the talk to her network of age scholars, calling me "a public intellectual with a fresh voice in age studies who can attract undergrads and grad students and explain to large mixed audiences what anti-ageism is." Make my day! And then some. 

Do I give death its due?

A good friend passed on a DVD of my This Chair Rocks talk to a filmmaker acquaintance, who had a serious critique. She found the talk compelling and called me “a smart and wise cheerleader for this next passage,” but continued, “What I felt missing in her talk was death. She moved quickly over it, saying that her big surprise was how little older folks feared death. I think she is wrong, but she has been immersed in this research far longer than I have.  I think we [all] fear death; it is the great unanswered question.

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