Tales of Graceful Aging

We'll talk with Nicole Hollander in the second hour today. You might know her from the Sylvia comic strip, or her comedy shows. This time, she's talking about her new book, Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial. A book that has her doing media interviews all over the country. And she was nice enough to do a little guest blogging for us:

What's surprising to me about being on a book tour, since I've never been on one before, is that my cartoon strip Syliva is easier to do. My sciatic nerve is acting up, my house is a mess, I'm stressed and yet ideas for my cartoon strip come pouring out. I just have to stop and write them down. Is stress a cure for writer's block?
Maybe I should subject myself to more stress, like showing up at an airport during a snow storm, carrying a large bottle of contact lens fluid and a swiss army knife in my carry on luggage. Or watch a marathon of CSI Miami, CSI New York, Law & Order, and Cold Case and Criminal Minds while drinking huge amounts of coffee and chocolate doughnuts. Surely something would give?
-Nicole Hollander

What are your stories of graceful... or not so graceful... aging? If 60 is the new 40, when do we get to be old and just relax?



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yet another baby boomer bemoaning the fact that no one understands the fact that their lives are SO different from everyone else's. to hell with this generation, they are merely ticks on the great, diseased hump of humanity.

Sent by giligadi | 3:13 PM | 9-27-2007

I turned 50 on this past Sunday and I still feel like the young kid in the bunch. My children are young teenagers and I feel just as young as they. To me getting older means more self-confidence and assurance. My mother will be 90 in December and she is taking writing classes at the junior college where she lives. She is my example of living life!

Sent by Laura Fromm | 3:20 PM | 9-27-2007

i found 'thinner thighs for everyone when i was 17,' before it applied to me, little did i know, and nicole, thank you for your humor all these years. now 20 years later, i look at older women as inspiration, regardless of how much make up they wear. but its the confidence, power and widsom that is more striking than the lack of facial lines.

Sent by susan | 3:36 PM | 9-27-2007

As I am listening I find this conversation for affluent seniors. I am 50 and going back to work after taking 6 years off to support my children through elementary school. I would love to be able to stay home and continue working with the school and supporting my children, but financially this is unpractical. I realize I will need to work throughout my golden years and just don't see a point where I will be able to "retire". I really don't know anyone whose is thinking they are going to be able to stop working and live without some sort of income.

Sent by daran Reinholm | 3:37 PM | 9-27-2007

Enjoying your aging program. I consider myself a young 71. Because of back surgery and arthritis I have had to cut back on some of my activities, such as bicycling or hiking up hills. I do walk quite briskly most every morning, use my excercycle, and glider regularly, and lift weights. When I was 53 I bicycled from Seattle to San Diego.
I expect to, carefully, get back to some in-line skating although my family has a concern that I may fall. Thank you. LIFE IS GOOD.

Sent by Judy Olson | 3:37 PM | 9-27-2007

I went back to college at 58 and will get my Creative Writing degree just before I turn 60 next June. Just as our married life was different, living different stages or passages, so will our retirement. I hope to be a famous writer, not just known in the upstate NY and Key West, FL area. We'll also probably travel and do volunteer work in the next 20 years.

Sent by June S. MacArthur | 3:41 PM | 9-27-2007

Dear Ms. Hollander,

My wife is seventy-years-old and has been bedridden most of the past eight years due to damage to her spine and internal organs from years of childhood sexual abuse and beatings as a girl and young woman.

She is still, after twenty years of battling painful and disabling medical problems, she is still the kindest, smartest, most intellectually stimulating woman I have ever met or heard of before.

She is my hero, my role-model for "aging gracefully."

Jeff Kirkendall, Paulden, Arizona

Sent by Jeff Kirkendall | 4:06 PM | 9-27-2007

Thank you, Nicole, for writing this book! I have just turned 60 yrs of age, and this is the most creative and energizing chapter of my life. After years of working in the business world, I have rediscovered acting from my high school years. It began innocently with volunteering in our Theatre Arts Dept at church. And now I actually have an agent and am winning roles in film, commercials, and print ads. The best part is all the interesting people I've met.

Since I'm a people person, another hobby I've acquired is organizing small lunch groups and putting women together. I organize a retiree lunch group, an arts lunch group, an acting lunch group, and a high school alumni lunch group. Relationships are vital to my mental health. I also participate in a Women's Group which has met quarterly for the past 20 yrs.

My husband and I are also team-leading a Small Group within our church. We have shared in each other's lives, and we've all become a close-knit family.

Perhaps the greatest gift to keeping my mind engaged and my spirit positive is writing and researching on my laptop. It keeps me connected to the outside world. And it has introduced me to a relief organization where I volunteer as an exhibit docent on a regular basis.

The biggest surprise that retirement has brought is the frequency with which I travel. Our children live far away which forces me to take "Grandma Trips." I enjoy time spent with the grandchildren. They teach me to stay in the moment in a way adults seldom do.

When I retired, I had visions of reconnecting with my domestic side. I pictured preparing gourmet dinners and entertaining. I imagined every drawer in our home neatly organized. I envisioned devoting my time to all kinds of deferred projects around the house. NOT! The happiness I've experienced with keeping an open heart, learning to take more risks, and embracing the value of everyday life is the best tonic for keeping my spirit young and vital.

Sent by Linda Newton | 4:38 PM | 9-27-2007

This was a refreshing program. BUT there is a darker side to aging as I saw with my grandmother (who recently died). She had advanced arthritis in her hips and lost all mobility. Almost all of these stories are of elderly people who are healthy enough to actually continue "living" but unfortunately, there are a lot of people that simply cannot move or function this easily. It is a very depressing thing to want to live but due to advanced age... unable to do so. We have to keep in mind that this isn't simply a matter of perspective and choice. Aging consists of very real physical limitations for many elderly people.

-Joe Szymczak

Sent by Joe Szymczak | 10:36 AM | 9-28-2007

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