On March 21-25 I attended the 12th annual Age Boom Academy, a seminar for journalists covering “the myths and realities of aging in America.” Billed as a Joint Program by the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and the Columbia Journalism School, it was sponsored by the Atlantic Philanthropies, AARP and The New York Times and took place at Columbia. (Previous Age Booms were held at the International Longevity Center and hosted by Bob Butler, whom I sorely missed. It was terrific and I’ll be writing about it more substantively, but in the meanwhile here are some thoughts from assorted speakers that stuck with me.
I’ve been sifting through past interviews, and this morning brought me to 92-year-old pianist Irving Fields (introduced here). Fields had had a hip replacement a few weeks earlier, but you’d never have guessed it. He hoped to be back on the golf course soon, and was having no trouble handling his nightly gig at Nino’s Tuscany on West 58th Street. “I go out the back of my building, walk 30 steps to the left, go up four steps – which I can do now, without a cane – and I’m at the most wonderful job I’ve ever had,” Fields reported happily. Not that unusual, I reasoned. These days really old people skip rope the morning after hip replacements. But open-heart surgery?