I received some inspiring feedback from those who downloaded and read my soon to be published book I’m Not Goin’ There: A Gutsy Girlfriend Guide for Boomer Women Who Don’t Want to Spend Their Golden Years Cuddling With Their Cats. I appreciate everyone who took the time to read and comment. The following response is from a prominent medical doctor who really “gets it.” (I’m withholding her name and location)
I just wanted to let you know how remarkable I found your book about “putting old on hold”, you are ahead of your time and I wish my patients could all read this, and more importantly, really understand what it is that you’re saying about the so-called “normal” process of ageing.
I’m a 54 year old medical doctor. For most of my adult life I have maintained that getting older was simply the result of “not paying enough attention” where people allowed themselves to just basically give up as they got older as this was the expected thing to do. We have this entrenched mindset of sliding down the slippery slope to doddery old age and then clustering together in retirement homes, which just reinforces the whole process. And of course as you say – ageing is big business.
So it’s exciting to see someone with similar ideas who is actually putting this into practice, and even better, sharing her knowledge with her sisters. I really loved your point about so-called “ageing gracefully” and also the excellent point you made about overweight young women on all these TV reality shows being encouraged to love their out of shape selves and just cover it all up with some new clothes, and better hairstyles and makeup. Like you, I think this is reprehensible and they should be being given advice, however gently, about proper nutrition, exercise, hormone replacement etc. as this will shape their futures. Of course I realise this is not the scope or aim of these shows but all it serves to do unfortunately is legitimise the idea that being obese and unhealthy is okay, as long as you ‘love yourself’….as a health professional this makes me want to run screaming out the door!
So my New Year’s resolution after reading your book is to drop the age reference thing as, alas, I am guilty of this and even worse, of doing the “how old do you think I am” routine. You’re right it’s so ageing and a dead giveaway and I’ll never do it again!! From now on my age isn’t an issue to me and if anyone asks I’ll just say it’s my business instead of feeling I have to divulge all – sometimes to perfect strangers!
I’m also going to ask my friends to please, please stop sending those ghastly joke e-mails along the lines of “you know you’re getting older when…” or jokes about senior moments. I feel as if they relate to someone who’s not me, but even worse I feel concerned that my largely medical friends are talking themselves into old age decades before the event.
So thank you Barbara, your book has been both timely and inspirational, and please for all our sakes keep up your excellent and challenging and thought-provoking writing, I for one will be spreading the word!
Jean Bowler says
More and more people are picking up on your philosophy, Barbara. I’m a long time fan, as
The doctor’s comments made me realize how many of those annoying old age e-mails I receive. I’m now looking at them in a new light.
This issue reminds me of when women starting asking for equal pay for equal work and that sexist terms which belittle women be eradicated at least from the workplace.
It’s a very similar struggle. The words we use DO shape the way we think.
Thanks so much for the feedback and kind words. I wish more women understood that words they use influence how they think and age, especially the “senior” word. Whatever your age, the less often you refer to yourself in any sense as a senior and the more often you reject the word as applying to you in any way, the more control you exert over your aging process. The word “senior” is a static, dried up, dead word; it does not connote life or growth. When describing yourself, try using “mature” which suggests growth and “ripening” (as in becoming a “juicy peach”). I’m working on becoming a juicy peach. It’s a lot more fun than declining into seniorhood.