Empty Nexters

July 30th, 2009

When this button came in the package with a bracelet I ordered from etsy, it took me a minute to realize it referred to vintage objects. But it also made me think about all the articles being written about postmenopausal zest, sex in retirement homes and the fabulousness of aging divas. Yes, Jessica Lange and Demi Moore are seemingly ageless, but is old really, truly cool in our culture? I’d like to think so since I qualify, even though I don’t feel old when I’m in spinning class or hot yoga or teetering around on a pair of 4-inch heels. But I don’t think old is cool when I watch Lou Dobbs or Pat Buchanan being crotchety, hateful and — old. I don’t think old is cool when life becomes more about conserving than creating. I don’t think old is cool if it means living in a gated retirement community with people who look just like me. I don’t think old is cool when I read about nursing home residents being abused and neglected, because they’re not only old but poor–a double mark of shame in our society. I don’t want to join a Crone circle or wear a Cougar tshirt or go on an elder cruise, but my friends and I don’t have enough role models or reliable road maps for a next act that doesn’t look like the one our mothers lived. Maybe the teachers I want just don’t exist, and the trails simply haven’t been blazed. Maybe someone is waiting for us to do it ourselves.

7 Responses to “Empty Nexters”

  1. V-Grrrl at Compost Studios says:

    I miss having mentors too. Someone to show me how to navigate this stage and move on to the next with something resembling grace and not bitterness or resignation.

    Oh, there is SO much more to aging well than we have been led to believe.

  2. V-Grrrl at Compost Studios says:

    P.S. My post based on the old photo is up.

  3. Frippery says:

    Lets lead the way.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I just accidentally came across Fridaville. Yes, we are leading the way…as always…where are the mentors to identify with…women my age are sitting around playing mah jong and all talking at once, no one is listening….I too am spinning and working out, reading, have loads of energy, cool but age appropriate clothes and all younger friends who are still bringing up children. Where is everybody who is vital at the end of our 60's?

  5. seastararts says:

    i'm scared to get old. in therapy for it now…

  6. RedChick says:

    Old is scary, old is lonely, old is a lot of work…but why does it have to be. My greatgrandmother lived to 105, my grandmother (still alive) at age 93, my mother, age 71, myself, 47. Friends react positively when I share the age of the women in my family, but honestly, I don't want to live until I'm 93, and definitely not 105. I have worked out, eaten healthy most of my life to insure that I do live a long, healthy life, but why am I encouraging this genetic disposition?
    The truth……I'm scared. With age comes feeling like you're a burden to others, with age comes helplessness, a lot more hair on your face, and lots of medication.
    But with age also comes an unexplainable calm, a surreal peace, some major confidence, and most, if not all, of the answers for all the times in your life you asked "Why". I am starting to get "IT". I am finally starting to understand what makes the world turn. And before my life ends, I hope I can say, I did what I was "supposed" to do, but did not ignore what I was meant to do. I thought what I was meant to do was to be a success at my job, live in a big house, drive an awesome car, juggle, successfully of course, my job and my family. But now that age is coming, I realize a person has one chance at life; and if you have love, or have had love, once is enough.

  7. cherirae says:

    Oh my, I so related with this post. In 10 days I turn 62 and I don't know how to process that reality. Just joined skirt.com today and a few minutes ago posted my first blog entry "Keep On Ridin" As a young person I looked with disdain on people who whined about getting older and was certain I would age with grace and joy. Well, that ain't happening! I'm going in to this kicking and screaming and doing what Oprah would call "the ugly cry." Sure helps when I encounter others who can talk about this stage of life in an open and honest manner. I know how to spout the cliches but I really want a roadmap and fellow travelers who aren't afraid to ask for directions. Old is cool and it isn't cool – it's both!