Saturday, September 21, 2019

What Now? - Ageism and the benefits of "this stage of life"

Maggie's Family Market by Marcia Muth
“And I find my eighties have been even more fun than my seventies were.”   
— Marcia Muth, folk artist

Greetings fellow “olders:” 

Ashton Applewhite uses that term rather than some of the ones we’ve tried on before such as … “elders,” “crones,” etc., primarily because it is value neutral.

Recently, I started thinking about writing about this stage of life, and it is turning out to be a far more interesting project than I first thought, especially since there is already a lot of literature out there. I am enjoying the positive, growth-oriented approach of Applewhite's This Chair Rocks. She also has an 11-minute TED talk which is a great (and often funny) way to hear her positive take on this time of life … and to understand “ageism” and how it affects our thinking. 

Ashton Applewhite: click here for TEDtalk.
I have to admit, when I started this project, I was thinking more about the downsides of being older, however, reading this book and watching the TED talk reminded me that I’m thoroughly enjoying life right now at the age of 73. Of course, I happen to be healthy, financially secure, and have people and projects in my life that bring me happiness. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Working title for the project is  … 

What Now?

Wisdom about this
sometimes strange,
sometimes heartbreaking,
sometimes magical time of life.
(special thanks to Barbara Gaughen-Muller and Harriet Eckstein 
for their contributions to the title search)
So, in this vein, I would like to ask you two questions:
  1. What benefits have you found to being in “this stage of life?”
  2. How have you experienced “ageism” … being discriminated against or treated as if you can’t or shouldn’t do something because of your age?
You can respond by email - jwycoff at or in the comments section below. Responses will be gathered into the next post (just let me know if you would like your name withheld.) 

All of the posts about this will be on this blog under the category: What Now?

                                  “Never grow up.”
After a full and creative life Marcia Muth, designated a “Living Treasure,” died in Santa Fe in 2014 at age 94. When asked about her secret to creativity and youthful vigor, she said: “Never grow up.”

Click here for more information about her life.


  1. 1. Benefit: Coming to terms with my own mortality gives me a resolve and focus like never before. If I want to leave a legacy, I had better get to it NOW! Also, I care less what people think of me. This is liberating.

    2. The only “ageism” I have experienced is that of invisibility, which surprisingly gives me permission to be more visible.

    I look forward to seeing where this project leads you, Joyce.