The New Age of Not-So-Old Age

by Kerry Cue

Sacha Nauta (The New Age of Longevity, The Economist, 6 JUL 2017) commented that the aging population should be seen as a boon not some Doomsday scenario for the economy. While increasing numbers of 60-plus population still work, even if part-time, the stereotype of the retiree has not shifted since Simone De Beavoir’s day. Retirees were either sponging off society or of no use to it.

Nauta claims that a new definition for the 60-plus age group is long over due. Childhood, she explained, was reclaimed in the 18OOs. (The 1833 Factory Act, UK, banned children under 9 years of age from working.) Teenagers did not exist by name until the 1940s. In 1944 Life magazine insisted that teen-agers made up ‘a big and special market’.

So now it is time to rename and reclaim the 60-plus years. Nauta suggests NYPPIES (Not Yet Past It) or OWLS (Older, Working Less, Still earning). Whatever name eventually gets taken up by the culture, let’s make it positive, a name that makes growing old look ‘cool’ to the young.

I suggest ROCrRs. (Really Old. Can Really Rock.)

The Sibyls Salute: Gloria Steinem

by The Sibyls

Gloria Steinem Quote

Gloria Steinem, feminist icon, founding editor MS magazine, social activist and commentator is currently on tour in Australia. In an article titled Gloria Steinem at 82: a hopeless hopeaholic always on the move by Susan Wyndham (18 May 2016, SMH) Gloria claimed she will have to live to 100 years of age to keep up with her current commitments.

‘On her to-do list: help get Hillary Clinton elected as US president (“I think she can win and she has to win”); introduce a Vice series of documentaries on violence against women around the world; consult on an HBO TV series about Ms, the feminist magazine she co-founded in the ’70s; work on a one-woman theatre show in which actor Kathy Najimy plays Steinem and the real Steinem joins in for an audience Q&A.

Gloria Steinem Sibylesque

We, The Sibyls, salute Gloria Steinem for her lifetime involvement in social reform and her continuing commitment to improving the lives of minority groups and the disadvantaged. She has been politically active for over 50 years and an inspiration for generations of women. Now, at 82 years of age, she is a role model for older women. She is an articulate, intelligent and vital life force, who demonstrates how much can be achieved at any age by anyone willing to put up their hand and become involved.

1 hour interview on ABC Radio 774 with Jon Faine and Kaz Cooke

Book Review: Older and Bolder

Sibylesque Renata Quote

REVIEW by Lorna Ebringer

older and bolder cover

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“Old age is not for the faint hearted” a friend told me. She should know. At 93, distressed by both her appearance and not wanting anyone to see her having to use a walking frame, she now refuses to leave her apartment.But perhaps old age is what you make of it. Renata Singer interviewed 28 women aged between 85 and 100 living in Australia and New York and their stories plus research into the way people choose to live in the last three decades of their lives is the subject matter of her new book.

As a baby boomer and therefore heading for 70 I am well and truly in the zone and thinking about all the issues related to growing old.  When is a good time to retire? How much money do we need to live comfortably possibly for many years? How do we remain well? Where are we to live, should we stay in our home or downsize or move into purpose built accommodation for the elderly? How will we cope with the loss of our loved ones? Sibylesque Terrify Kids All these issues are covered in Renata’s book, informed by research and enlivened by the experiences of the wonderful women that contributed to the project, containing “hot tips” covering each matter, it is a must read for those of us who are thinking about how it will be for us and how we are best to cope. Above all it is an optimistic book, those women who have come before us show us that it is possible to live well and joyfully for all of our lives.

 We, THE SIBYLS, declare Renata Singer an Honorary Sibyl for her dogged research, penetrating insight and spirited presentation of older women today. We also commend her for her efforts in establishing Fitted for Work to help unemployed women get back into the workforce.

Publisher’s link here.

Sibylesque Sibyl Approved Maroon

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.

Photo Source: Publisher’s Website,pinterest…………….

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Old Age: The Doddery vs The Dazzling

by Kerry Cue

sibylesque Iris Apfel quote

The doddery Old Age stereotype versus dynamic new old Agers was dramatically apparent in The Australian Weekend Review, (22 Aug 2015. There is a paywall but you can see the cartoon here.) Deidre Macken wrote a thoughtful and lively article about older women, which left anyone over the age of 60 feeling foot-tappin’ good about getting old.
Iris Apfel Fashion Icon 93

Primarily, Macken paid homage to Iris Apfel a New York fashion icon at 93, who is the star of a documentary titled simply Iris (below).

Macken also captured the dynamic zeitgeist of aging for a new generation of women.

‘Finally relieved of kids, parents’ stuff, jobs and sometimes partners, women of the first youth generation are in the mood for breaking out again.’ Too true.

But the cartoon accompanying Macken’s intelligent piece dished up the same old shriveled-cold-tripe imagery we mature age readers are fed daily namely a sketch of three doddery oldies on walking frames. The cartoon had nothing to do with the article theme. Even if we see old women bush walking, riding bikes and pumping more iron than that cartoonist (Jon Kudelka. Google him), we are still surrounded with these negative stereotypes. But as Macken noted:

‘You’re only old once.’ And we are not about to beige up and fade away.

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 We, THE SIBYLS, declare Deidre Macken an Honorary Sibyl for her insightful writing, her independent thinking and her intelligent reporting on the lives of vibrant older women.

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Deirdre Macken

Deirdre Macken

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Best known as a journalist and columnist, Deirdre Macken wrote on business and marketing for The Australian 1975-1979, worked for The Age 1979-1987 and was a senior writer on The Sydney Morning Herald and its Good Weekend from 1987-1999. She is currently a columnist and senior writer for The Australian.

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Photo source: Film Website

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Turning 50? Should it be a Rite of Passage?

by Kerry Cue

Sibylesque Croning Quote 1Listening to some wonderful stories while attending a Celebrants’ Conference in Sydney the other week, I was flabbergasted to discover there was such a thing as a Croning Ceremony. I was delighted to meet Jacqueline Hope, a Celebrant from WA, who has conducted such a ceremony. See here and here.

Who would want to be called a crone? No one. Yet there are two conflicting meanings of this word: (Free Dictionary)

  1. An old woman considered to be ugly; a hag.
  2. A woman who is venerated for experience, judgment, and wisdom.

Can we reclaim the word crone as a positive force? I doubt it, but many women today treat their 50th birthday as a rite of Passage. This is a New Age take on the pagan/Wicca belief that there are three stages of womanhood: Virgin, Mother, Crone. Of course, others might consider their 60th birthday as their entry into their wise years. Or, perhaps, your 70th birthday has special meaning for you.

The Fabulous Stage is represented by Beatrix Ost, Advanced Style, NY.

The Fabulous Stage is represented by Beatrix Ost, Advanced Style, NY.

The respected mythologist Jospeh Campbell referred to crones appearing to help the child of destiny in a time of danger and obscurity.

Others call this ritual a Wise Woman Ceremony, either way it is claiming the mature years as a positive stage. From Barbara Hannah Grufferman in The Huffingtonpost to The Women at Woodstock, who run weekends for women over 50, women are gathering together to celebrate the joy and wisdom of this their ‘FABULOUS’ stage.

Photo source: Unsourced.

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If we are wise, why don’t we celebrate?

By Jacqueline Hope
Sibylesque Jacqueline Hope Quote

Wise Woman Ceremony for Nicky

These are the words I read as celebrant at the ceremony.

The Reading:

“To each and every one of us here we hold special memories, of this remarkable person who has stepped ever so gently into our hearts and lives and left an indelible footprint, and we honour her for that.

She has many titles daughter, sister, auntie, cousin, friend colleague, neighbour. However she is also a wife, extraordinaire and awesome mother to the joy of her life her beloved sons ….

In these aspects of her persona she has often shone brightly and ever so occasionally there has been some lack lustre. But nothing a fag and a cup of coffee couldn’t sort out! Eh boys?”

Sibylesque  Wise Women Ceremony” It is in her persona of Midwife, she has dedicated the majority of her energy, expertise, joy, love, and wisdom. She has been practicing her ‘wise woman’ skills for more years than she cares to remember.

These hands have been privileged to welcome many, many souls into this world, with tears of joy, and relief!!”

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The Ritual:

The circle of woman join hands and circle to the left and the right of Nicky as the drum is beaten they chanting or singing

“I am the maiden, the Mother, The Crone. (Which ever applies) and we honor and love you Nicky.

One by one the woman jump into the circle and spin around with Nicky until all are within the circle.

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Jacqueline Hope is a very young gorgeous 64-year-old divorcee and forcibly retired midwife, who has worked in England, Dubai, Australia, and Peru. She is a marriage celebrant from WA and has a practice in intuitive counseling whose motto is H.O.P.E  – Hold on pain ends. She is the mother of two grown adult-children a son, who, it seems, are rarely are dazzled by their mother’s, brilliance.   (No prophet is recognized in their own land sigh!) She is saving the ‘pennies’ in the hope of swanning off for another adventure.

Dancing photo source: Unsourced.

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Chemo Fashionista

by Kerry Cue

Womad 2015 Festival vibe

The Truly Fabulous Jules

This is the Funky and Fabulous Jules at WOMAD 2015. She caught my attention because she radiated such a positive vibe. But she had a story to tell. Jules started a Chemo regime of treatment every two weeks – 6 months ago. She was heading back into ‘the chair’ the day after this photograph was taken. She is an example to us all. Grab life now. Celebrate now. Non of us know the future.

We, The Sibyls, thank Jules for sharing her positively contagious spirit and wish her a speedy recovery.

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I will not be a stereotype when I grow old

Sibylesque Paul Coelho QuoteChange is a Beautiful Thing is a part of The Beauty Project by New York director Kathryn Ferguson. This short  film does not whitewash aging. It is full of the foibles, doubts and uncertainties of growing old. Yet it also bubbles with individuality, vitality and the honesty age, hopefully, brings.

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Aging Passionately

by Kerry Cue

Sibylesque Florida Scott-Maxwell Quote

Ann Karpf

Ann Karpf

“How to Age’ (The School of Life, 2014) by Anne Karpf takes an analytical and philosophical look at aging. Despite wide spread gerontophobia in our society where age is not just see as a disability, it is despised, Karpf explains that people can age with vitality until their final breath.

And one of the most liberating joys of aging is not caring ‘what others think about you.’

how to ageYou may also like to read about the how geriatric language can age you. At my age, doctor, John Glen was an astronaut!

Anne Karpf is a writer, sociologist and award-winning journalist. And here she is talking about ‘How to Age’: