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.)

Sibyls’ Salon

the Sibyls

Sibylesque Go sibyls Cake

The Sibyls’ Salon was, once again, an exciting mix of extraordinary insights, wise words and frivolity. The opening question brought about an hilarious range of responses.

You are lost on a Desert Island with no IT or means of communication. But, thank goodness, you have one treasured item with you. What is it?

The answers include:

the noble – the complete works of Shakespeare,

the sweet – my teddy bear,

the practical – a pillow,

the entertaining – a book of crossword puzzles,

the devoted – my cat.

But all of the above seemed a little modest compared to Sibyl Doris’s choice of Stephen Sondheim and a Grand Piano!!!!!!! Sibyls desert Island disks Thanks to Sibyls Elizabeth, Rita, Viv I, Rosemary, Viv II, Denis, Celia (See Sibyl Cake above) and Carol plus Host Sibyls Doris and Kerry.

If you think you are old, guess what? You ARE aging fast.

by Kerry Cue

Sibylesque Gloria Steinem quote

We, The Sibyls, do not deny age its journey. Nevertheless, many studies have shown that the toxic stereotype of the stooped ‘little old lady’ not only limits your outlook on aging, it can actually reduce your life span. We have noted before that this stereotype is reinforced by Geriatric Self-Talk and assumptions of the medical profession. Now two recent publications support this view.

What if age is nothing but a mind set? by Bruce Greirson (New York Times, 22 OCT 2014) reports on a study conducted by Ellen Langer, Professor of Psychology at Harvard, conducted in 1981. Eight men in their 70s stepped into a monastery retro-fitted for 1959. Perry Como crooned on a vintage radio. Ed Sullivan appeared on a black-and-white TV. After 5 days, the men significantly improved on many ‘age related’ tests.

Sibylesque Go Wild

Our aging brain pinkMeanwhile, in his book, Our Ageing Brain: How our mental capacities develop as we grow older (SCRIBE, 2014) André Aleman cites similar studies including the study that showed:

*those with a more positive view of aging lived 7.5 years longer.

*when older people are asked to read a list of negative words associated with aging (eg. Senile) their performance in memory tests reduces.

*men who become prematurely bald present with earlier onset of age related deceases.

*older people in rural China suffer less from memory problems that we do. Professor Langer, who also conducted this study, put this down to their lack of exposure to the negative stereotyping of age we experience in the West.

According to Aleman:

A positive attitude – often perfectly justified, since many older people are in good health – keeps you young.

Photo Source: NYC, 1966, Airbus, Medialapie09 Blog


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.