Getting On: Some thoughts on women and ageing

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REVIEW by Lorna Ebringer

Picture 3Getting on: Some thoughts of women and aging

Liz Byrski

Pub Momentum Books 2012

The baby boomers are ageing! Expect to hear a lot about this topic as we all struggle to come to terms with this fact. Some of us are so put out by the accumulation of ailments that one friend has limited discussion about our failing bodies to 10 minutes before we are required to move to other topics.

Liz Bryski’s book “Getting on, Some thoughts on Women and Ageing” was first published as an ebook in 2012 and is now available in paperback. (Pub Momentum Books) Part memoir and part a reflection, she discusses the problems that women face as they grow old. Despite the fact that older women are central to society, working, writing, volunteering, caring for disabled children and for their parents and living busy and productive lives she finds that society renders them invisible, we are not seen in the media, in advertising, in shopping centres. We are ignored. Whole industries have grown up to help women avoid being erased by trying to make us look younger than we are. If we believe the spin we can dye our hair, have a facelift, diet those extra kilo’s away, in short, have a make over. A lot of energy and money can be spent and, of course, it does not halt time.

Author: Liz Bryski

Author: Liz Byrski

When we are noticed, it is as a problem. The “problem of our ageing population” is mentioned all the time in the media. We are regarded as a financial burden by the wealthiest generation in history. This is truly astonishing given the contribution we have made to society in our working lives over the past 40 or 50 years and the contribution we are still making in providing the volunteer work force in our charities and community support groups, in the care we are giving to our parents and grandchildren and often to our adult disabled children.

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Liz Bryski raises and addresses all the negative issues that old age brings with it but she is undeterred. Remembering the feisty older women in her life when she was a child and how much she admired them she is determined to enjoy the journey and reading her book encourages us all to do the same. So what are the positives? Now that we are free from full time work and caring for young children we have time to “make the most of every moment and every day, love more and better, learn more and read more” We can enjoy our friendships more and allow them to enhance our lives. As a result our lives become packed with interest and adventure. We are healthier than ever thanks to good medical care and the consciousness that we have to address fitness issues to live well, she swims, we dance, our friends walk, ride bikes, go to the gym and Tai Chi, we meet other people doing these things and we are luckier than our parents in this respect.

I hope that we will see further thoughtful discussions like this that allow us to look forward with optimism and courage.

You will find Liz Byrski’s article Why it is good to be old here.

Sibyl Approved

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LORNA EBRINGER

LORNA EBRINGER

Lorna Ebringer’s passions include trekking  in remote areas of Georgia, China and Japan, opera appreciation and rock ‘n roll dancing. Her previous posts were Notable Women: Christine de Pizan and When god had a wife.

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Photo Source: Liz Bruyski’s website, Youcanbefunny blog………………………………….

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On being an artist: lost for 2 hrs staring at an eye

 by Ruth McIntosh

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I have just spent two hours staring at an eye I’m painting. What happened? Where did the time go?…and I still haven’t done the other one!

Being an artist is a lonely business but wonderfully transporting at the same time. Transporting where though? Well, transporting away from everything except those colours and that purpose in front of me to achieve Charlottes’ eye and all that it conveys.

Charlotte's Eyes 2014  Ruth McIntosh

One of the most important and difficult things I have come to terms with in painting is that most of the art I produce is simply practice and therapy, not some end product. The image is usually being wiped off, or painted over.

However the therapy is blissful. Putting on the music, singing at the top of my voice intermittently after making some strokes, having moments of immense energy accompanied by beautiful quiet interludes. Not thinking about dinner, children or any domesticities. Ahhh, bliss!

My studio is full of visual evidence of my whimsical thoughts. Sometimes it’s a bit depressing and sometimes it’s very comforting. My visual diaries document my life with amazing accuracy even without words.

Well, that’s enough of this little interlude and its back to Charlotte and the other eye and the smell of paint, turps and the heavy decision of which music to play. I’ll see the world in another two hours!

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Ruth McIntosh

Ruth McIntosh

Ruth McIntosh is an extraordinary  and passionate artist, who has been involved in art and art education for many years. She has held various solo exhibitions and has been involved in group shows. Ruth specializes in portraiture using both traditional methods of oil on canvas/linen and incorporating experimental use of media. Ruth is committed to extending her art to enjoy the riches of traditional workmanship alongside the excitement of contemporary application.

Her website is: Ruth McIntosh

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Some Grandmas really are Wild Things!

by Honey Clarke

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You can retire from a job, but don’t ever retire from making extremely meaningful contributions in life.purple quote 2

…………………………………………………………..Stephen Covey, Author

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Illustration by Honey Clarke from her book 'My grandma is a Wild Thing'.

Illustration by Honey Clarke from her book ‘My grandma is a Wild Thing’

Australia has been perpetuating ridiculous stereotypes ever since Chips Rafferty came to the screen. His nasal drawl and odd sayings use to make our skin crawl. “We’re nothing like that!” we’d scream. Yet in any movie about Australia, he’d ride on in. Despite what we know to be true, Australians still willingly go with the stereotypes offered. Don’t think so? Just watch how quickly you can become invisible in the workplace, now you’re a woman of “a certain age”.

Grandma Swims by HOney Clarke

Grandma Swims by HOney Clarke

Lately Politicians are hinting that an ageing population is “becoming a significant issue” like Lyssavirus or finding you’d grown a third eye. The Bureau of Statistics gives projections of data pregnant with doom. What none acknowledge is the contribution the ageing give to our country.

 This theme has been a thread in my own work. My friend Marn breaks all the stereotypes and helped inspire my book “My Grandma is a Wild Thing” because she played drums, rode a motorbike and swung from a jungle gym to pose for my drawings. What’s more Marn speaks “Kid” in all its forms – eloquently and with love. She’s a dynamic part of work and family. Yet stereotypes of aging persist.

The Chooks  by Honey Clarke

The Chooks
by Honey Clarke

I hatched “The Chook* Book of Wisdom” when a farmer friend was about to go home and dispose of his chooks. The problem? They’d stopped laying. Was he crazy? They were just menopausal – they had heaps of good years. He thought it a hoot. The chooks were saved. Let’s hope we are too.

Australia has to get over the idea that passive earners don’t contribute. Let’s show our currency. Dare to be different. Grasp every opportunity to contribute to the quality of our own lives and in so doing, contribute to the quality of others too.

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Honey Clarke

Honey Clarke

Honey Clarke lives on the side of a mountain in an extinct crater lake with her partner, the Rock Doctor. She’s an artist, writer and teacher who encapsulates the essence of life in the quick strokes of paint or pen. Honey has two grown up kids and seven grandchildren. She is part-owner in a bamboo farm. She would like to say her hobbies are kite-surfing and abseiling but that would be a lie. Instead she reads, swims, travels, paints and blogs as much as possible. Honey’s blog is Honeyclarkeart. To inquire about Honey Clarke’s art, books or illustraoins contact her at: honeyclarkeartATgmail.com

Gemma Sisia has a big dream to fight poverty through education.

Gemma Sisia has a big dream to fight poverty through education.

 

The charity that she and the Rock Doctor champion is St Judes in Tanzania, a brilliant school educating kids out of poverty.

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Photo Source: Honey Clarke’s Blog and St Jude’s Website.

*Chook is an Aussie colloquialism for a chicken.

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The Twelfth Raven: A memoir of stroke, love and recovery

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maroon quote-1All sorrows can be borne if you put them into stories.

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……………………………Isak Dinesen, Author, Out of Africa quoted in The Twelfth Raven

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Sibylesque Sibyls Books
REVIEW by Kerry Cue

 

thetwelfthravenThe Twelfth Raven:

A memoir of stroke, love and recovery

Doris Brett

UWA Publishing (2014)

The Twelfth Raven, according to an old English rhyme, brings joy for tomorrow. Sometimes, I wish poets wrote news headlines then, instead of the ‘Syrian Bloodbath’ headline, you might read something like ‘Trickster God’s Toy with Us Again’. The Trickster God’s certainly overthrew all that defines normality in Doris Brett’s life. Firstly, Brett’s husband Martin suffered, at 59, a stroke followed by a superbug, heart valve failure and open-heart surgery. Then Brett needed a radical mastectomy.

Doris_Brett_2014_smallRead this book if you want to learn how to defend yourself against the Healthcare system. But Brett is a poet. The language is lyrical. Dreams untangle knots in reality to reveal some profound truths. Read this book, if you want to gain some insight into the inner journey of an insightful writer in a family crisis. Brett is ruthlessly honest and very generous in this regard.

A recommended read.

We, THE SIBYLS, declare Doris Brett an Honorary Sibyl for her ruthless honesty, her unflinching endurance and her ability to provide insights into life’s hardships by weaving her brand of lyrical magic.

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After Retirement a New Career

by Dimity Reed

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purple quote 1Imagination creates reality.purple quote 2

……………………..Richard Wagner, Composer1813 – 1883.

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Having spent around 40 really terrific years as an architect and having rarely thought about age, my 70th birthday appeared just as a marvellous urban renewal project which had involved me for four years finished. So there were a few free moments there to contemplate how I might entertain myself, and possibly others, for what could be another 20 years.

Then, one evening, after a slightly boozy dinner, a musicologist friend asked if we wanted to go to a lecture he was giving the following day on how we humans turn sound into music. That invitation became a new life, and not just for me. We went and were so mesmerised by his ideas and presentation that I rang our youngest filmmaker son (there are a few in the family), Sam, and suggested he attend the next talk.
 He did and afterwards asked our mate, Heath Lees, if he were interested in doing a television series on music and how we hear it. He was.

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They talked for a while and agreed to talk more. Then Sam asked if I were interested in producing the series. I replied (with a rare meekness) that I knew nothing about film production. “Ah”, said Sam, “You’d be very good at it.” I don’t know about you, but in my parental experience flattery is quite unusual, so I immediately said ‘Yes’. And in early 2012 became a virgin film producer.

Screen Grab from Wagner's Ring  - A Tale Told in Music

Screen Grab from Wagner’s Ring
– A Tale Told in Music

Heath wrote a script, we hired the Salon at the Melbourne Recital Centre, put a great crew together and shot a 16 minute teaser in a week. Sam edited it and I took it to a producer in Sydney for advice. The advice was good but unexpected, “Wagner’s 4 opera Ring cycle is on in Melbourne in 2013 and Heath Lees is a world expert on Wagner. He’s a brilliant communicator so put More To Music aside and do something on The Ring.”

A screen grab from Wagner's Ring - A Tale Told in Music

A screen grab from Wagner’s Ring –
A Tale Told in Music

Heath, Sam and I took the advice and started work on four films, one on each of the Ring operas in September 2012. The scripts were written, money raised, brilliant crew again employed, wondrous singers involved and a month shooting in Europe happened. The films were completed and ready for sale in September 2013 (Available online here).

Dimity Reed, Film Editor

Dimity Reed, Film Editor

None of it was easy but it was glorious fun and the films are magical. Working with very talented people is one of life’s joys and everyone involved in Wagner’s Ring: A Tale Told in Music was hugely talented, hard-working, generous and fun.

So now we’re back where we stated, working on More To Music. And this, I think, is what the politicians call moving forward.

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Dimity Reed,  Architecture Ambassador , 2008

Dimity Reed, Architecture Ambassador , 2008

Dimity Reed’s CV includes architect, author, Professor of Urban Design at RMIT University, Board Member and Councillor of the City of St Kilda, but at 70 years of age she found a new career as Managing Director of Mad Woman Productions. Her book, Tangled Destinies – the National Museum of Australia, was published in 2002.

 

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Welcome

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We cannot let others define aging for us.

….We must, as we have done before,

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…………….redefine this stage for ourselves.

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What the media doesn’t tell you!

Frankly, my dear, they’re over you!

the-tibertine-sibylIf you have found little of interest in the lifestyle pages across all media platforms, there is a reason. After 54-years of age we are of no interest to Marketing. Apparently, we are ‘too set in our ways’. So, apart from some tragic and cheap ads spruiking pre-paid funerals and incontinence pads, we do not attract the advertising dollar. Therefore editors of magazines, newspapers, websites and blogs aimed at women couldn’t care less about our issues.

There are lots of ads for dubious anti-aging and slimming products, much like the 1950s ads (below) but with their own Facebook Page. But the anti-wrinkle creams and slimming products do not target us. They are aimed at 40, 30 and even 20 year olds. They have more to fear from aging and being overweight than us.50s chin strap We’ve already had to face certain realities. Besides, we’ve been applying goops for 40+ years and we must have tried scores of diets with little success!!! We’ll look at the real science ( and not the ‘radiessence’ or ‘luminosity’) of face creams and rubbish diets later.

But there are many issues such as health, sex and self-perception that change after 54 years of age and that we want to discuss. If you are looking at retirement and your daughter wants the BIG wedding, do you have to pay for it? What if you are divorced? What if it’s her 2nd wedding?

How do you deal with a neurotic daughter-in-law? Or a control-freak son-in-law? Or vice-versa?

Cole Swimsuit Ad 1953 And we wanted those curves!

Cole Swimsuit Ad 1953
And we wanted those curves!

Are you prepared to look after grandchildren one day a week? Two days? How would you react if your daughter handed you a spread sheet scheduling every minute of that one day?

If you didn’t have children, are you now being swamped by the 2nd wave of child-centric conversations as your friends become grandparents?

Moreover, how did any of us even produce children with the hilariously vague ‘sex education‘ we received in the 60s or 70s?

We, The Sibyls, are smart, vibrant and interesting women. It is the intention of this blog to reinvent aging. We’re doing this for ourselves. Welcome.

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