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Monday, February 3, 2014

Going Gray Gracefully

I like this essay about going gray for several reasons:

1.  The author, Leah Rozen, refers to herself at one point as “an obvious incipient geezer.”  I’m glad to see another writer use what I’ve come to call the “G” word with such obvious humor and affection.

2.  Like me, she resists dyeing her hair because it’s so expensive, and she’s cheap.

Coloring your hair is expensive. It was costing me north of $800 annually to tint my tresses at my neighborhood Manhattan hair salon. For that amount, I can jet round-trip twice, albeit in coach, to visit Los Angeles, where I proudly fly my freak flag as the only nonblonde of practically any race or age in the entire city.

3.  The author makes the connection between growing old gracefully and going gray naturally:

My final reason, and the clincher, was my mother. She had long advocated for growing old gracefully, by which she meant not indulging in any fashion trend when it came around for a second time (like bell bottoms and platform shoes), not wearing your skirts too short once your knees capitulated to gravity, and not dyeing your hair.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Music of Our Times, of Our Lives

Here’s a quote from Val Haller, in his article, Protest Songs, From Seeger to Sting to Springsteen

“I didn’t set out this past weekend to write a tribute to Pete Seeger. But in light of his passing, keeping protest music alive is more important than ever. Young artists: carry on.”

After reading his piece, and then listening to the various clips, including of Springsteen, Dylan, and Mumford & Sons with Elvis Costello, I thought:  Would so many of us taken to the streets during those turbulent times--to march against the war, against racism--without this music to inspire us?  To give us common purpose and even courage?

Fellow Boomers & Beyonders, listen and see what you think:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Get Happy, Age Better

Here’s another of these “Duh” studies, but worth repeating, I think.

Of the “8 Things That Make Or Break Your Happiness”--from a AARP survey--I find two really interesting:  Accomplishment and Meaning & Engagement.

Which translates to me as:  continue to actively create your life.  And one of the best ways to consciously do that is through journal writing.  

So several days a week, you get up, get your coffee, sit down, open your journal, and write your way into the day: 

What do you want this day to look like?  Be specific. 

What activities will be most rewarding?  Be specific.

Who do you want to see/be in touch with? 

Today, what will contribute most to your physical, creative, and emotional/spiritual well-being?  
Be specific. 

After all, each of us is in charge of our own happiness.  Keeping a personal journal reminds us of that.

People Who Enjoy Life Actually Age Better, Study Shows

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In Gratitude for the Life of Pete Seeger

I can think of no finer epitaph for Pete Seeger than one he wrote himself:

“To My Old Brown Earth”

To my old brown earth
And to my old blue sky
I’ll now give these last few molecules of “I.”

And you who sing,
And you who stand nearby,
I do charge you not to cry.

Guard well our human chain,
Watch well you keep it strong,
As long as sun will shine.

And this our home,
Keep pure and sweet and green,
For now I’m yours
And you are also mine.

To hear this song performed--and for more on this amazing man's life, click here:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Geezer Perks

Yet another article on the advantages of aging.  (Keep ‘em coming, I say.)

When I first saw the headline below, I thought of one particular perk, a habit I’ve recently fallen into:  calling everyone I come in contact with “Honey”—family, friends, the bus driver, crossing guard, customer service people, and clerks in stores, especially the young, cute fellows I once longed for in my misspent youth.

And the best part is no one takes offense, feels patronized or insulted; in fact, it usually brings a nod and a smile, which is, after all, the point.

Here are 20 more:

20 Things We Can Do After 50 That We Couldn't Do At 20

Friday, January 24, 2014

Honor Thy Father & Thy Mother: Tell Their Story

When I first started teaching my memoir and family stories workshops at the Newberry Library (, I was struck by how many people who attended—especially those in their 50s and 60s, and with both parents deceased—so regretted not knowing more about their parents.  Especially who they were before they became their parents.

Some of the participants had found a cache of letters or diaries written by their mother or father or both, which is what inspired them to sign up for the workshop, to finally honor their parents' memory by telling their stories.

At least that’s how I see it, the “honoring” part. 

I thought of that while reading this fun piece about young adults still or now back living with their parents, a survival guide, as the writer describes it.  Here’s the bit that resonated:

This is as good a time as any to find out your mum's backstory. Learning to see your parents as full people and not just personalised hovering emotional life-support machines will make you a better person.

More at: