Things we don’t talk about

I put my foot in it, sent an email to Ronni Bennett about John McCain’s age and she wrote another of her well reasoned posts about why it doesn’t matter. Perhaps she is right–I know that we each age differently and have different capacities.

I know that talking about the difficulties of aging gives fodder to the makers of ageist jokes and fuels ageism. But why is it OK to talk about the changes that occur between the ages of 10 and 20, but not about between 50 and 60, or 60 and 70. Just as puberty brings changes, some good, some not so good, aging does the same.

I am not the same person I was at 50. And what may be amazing to younger people: many of those changes have been for the better. I am happier, more accepting of myself, more able to accept change (three career changes and three relocations in the last twenty years), and contrary to popular understanding, more able to take risks. Yes, I have aches and pains; when I was younger I had migraines and menstrual pains. And yes, I have had problems, but I am more able to cope with them, more in command of my life, as evidenced by those career changes and relocations.

I think it is important to talk about these things our culture deems unmentionable, such as aging and death. Acknowledging aging and talking about it openly and honestly would make much more sense than our pursuit of the the fountain of youth.

4 thoughts on “Things we don’t talk about

  1. Ronni, I’m sorry; I’ve been rereading my post, your post and my email. I just don’t understand how I misrepresented you. I have the greatest respect for your writing. I think you do a wonderful job of representing elder thinking.
    I was disappointed you didn’t spend more time addressing the issue of decision-making under pressure, which is what prompted my post. But after reading all the ageist remarks generated, ironically, by McCain’s campaign when it accused Obama of using age as an issue by saying McCain was losing his bearings, I think you are probably correct in not discussing the failings of age. I’m sorry I ever sent you the email.

  2. I just want to be clear that I’ve never said we shouldn’t talk about what getting old really like or death. It’s the very essence of my blog to do so.
    I also did not say McCain’s age doesn’t matter. What I did say is that to not vote for him merely because of the number of his years is ageist.
    Aging is a highly individual process and in terms of deciding to vote for McCain, each voter needs to watch and listen to him and decide for him- or herself if they think HE is up to the job, not whether we ourselves are.
    I feel misrepresented by this post.

  3. I agree also. I feel stronger (at least in heart) than I was when I was younger. If I could be younger while still holding onto everything I’ve learned, it would be tempting. But I’d never go back just to be young again.

  4. I have enjoyed catching up with your trip to New York and the pictures…and I agree with you…I think talking about the truth of aging backwards and forwards is a good thing…

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