From T-shirt wisdom to the wisdom of trees
Updated: Mar 2
Editor of the Human Values in Aging Newsletter, HR (Rick) Moody has just celebrated his 78th birthday. He tells how he received these T-shirts as gifts. Depending on your own age you might be wondering where you could buy one for yourself or a friend?!
I’ve been subscribing to this newsletter for years (writes Debbie Thrower) and always find something of real interest in it. In this latest March 2023 edition, I find an amusing editor’s letter with some great one-liners:
‘Age denial: it’s real, take it from me. As the vaudeville joke has it, denial ain’t just the name for a river in Egypt.’
‘I’m now older than my two best friends were when they died, writes Rick. (Novelist) William Saroyan said: “Everybody has got to die, but I have always believed an exception would be made in my case.”’
‘The narcissist said: “Enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?”’
He tells an anecdote of getting to know television journalist Hugh Downs, ‘who once told me of the time he visited an old actor in a nursing home in New Jersey. Hugh Downs asked the actor about his career off-Broadway: “You did the same show every night for years and years. Didn’t you ever get bored?” The old actor thought for a moment and then said, “If I thought about myself, I might have. But when I remembered that for the audience it was always the first time, I never got bored.”’
Articles this month include a discussion of ‘Why does time speed up as we age?’ – see Claudia Hammond’s book, Time Warped: Unlocking the mysteries of time perception (Harper Perennial, 2013) – as well as providing links to internet sites featuring people as diverse in their views on ageing (or aging in US spelling) as octogenarian actress Jane Fonda and the Roman philosopher Cicero.
The newsletter comes from the Creative Longevity and Wisdom Programme at Fielding Graduate University.
It’s intriguing to see the American emphasis on ‘successful ageing’ and how we may become ‘empowered’ in older age. For example, a host of conferences and webinars are highlighted on topics like life planning, how to revolutionise your retirement, the wisdom of trees and the call of elderhood. Top of the list this month:
WOMEN AND AGING: Refusing to be invisible for women 50+ (7 March 2023, 7.00 pm EST –Eastern Standard Time – on Zoom). Women over 50 might feel invisible, less empowered, or diminished. But with age, they could become stronger, more confident and empowered. Join host Martha Blackwelder, art consultant and founder of Unexpected Adventures, for a talk with author Paula Marie Usrey about her book Refusing to Be Invisible which explores women’s untapped power. Zoom, no cost. For details and registration see tinyurl.com/50refusing.
The last word, though, is left to the late Benedictine monk and spiritual writer Thomas Merton:
‘All we need is to experience what we already possess.’
If you’d like to subscribe to this free newsletter, email Rick Moody.