My earliest memories of the “elder experience,” were the ongoing kvetching sessions my parents, neighbors, aunts and uncles engaged in when they got together. Add to the mix, the unflattering, images of older adults depicted on TV, films and magazines, and from early on, I got a not very pretty picture of senior living. Old age seemed like an endless list of grievances, complaints, dissatisfactions and helplessness.
Over the years and as I have aged, that norm of a diminished retirement didn’t fit in with what I wanted for my third life stage. I had often lamented that there were so few elder women role models for me to emulate. I don’t have to tell you that we live in a youth oriented world where the young are revered and idealized by the media and the advertisement world. Whether you go to the movies, watch TV or read a magazine, the images we are bombarded with are young, skinny and wrinkle free. The images we see of older folks are often sanitized, air brushed (okay, they all are) and not representative of my image of elderhood. as a potentially rich, fulfilling and meaningful time of life.
My guest this week on( KOWS 107.3 FM’s) Wise Woman Storytime, Amy Gorman is helping to change this paradigm. A retired social worker in the field of gerontology, Amy has written a book spotlighting 12 women aged 85 – 105 who through their optimism, resilience, ability to adapt, commitment to live in the present moment and their love and dedication to their creativity and art, serve as wonderful role models for those of us who aspire to a ripe and rich old age.
Amy’s book, Aging Artfully: 12 Profiles of Visual and Performing Artists 85-105 spotlights these ordinary and yet amazing elder women who because of who they are and how they live, inspire, motivate and encourage all of us to do what we love. It’s a prescription for a longer and happier life.
Click on the audio of the show below and find out how Amy’s own personal journey led her to cross life paths with these 12 women. Glean the lessons of their lives and maybe, just maybe, improve the quality or yours.
Check out Amy’s website, Agingartfully.com. You can order the Aging Artfully directly or on Amazon . Make sure to check out the documentary film, Still Kicking that depicts the life of 6 of the 12 women in Aging Artfully.
By Roberta Teller