“How looking backward shows us the path forward.”
“So how do we reconcile with regrets as we age? For older adults, it can be bittersweet to compare what is to what could have been, as our chances for a do-over dwindle,” writes Tove Strandmark. Drawing from the book The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward by Daniel H. Pink, she offers some advice and examples.
Here’s an article about “Cycling Without Age, a global organization trying to enrich the lives of older people by visiting extended living facilities and offering rides piloted by volunteers.” The volunteers use specialized electric bicycles called trishaws.
Old age isn’t a modern phenomenon – many people lived long enough to grow old in the olden days, too
I see a lot of articles explaining that the number of older adults is increasing as advances in fields like medicine and nutrition allow people to live longer. But Sharon DeWitte, professor of anthropology at the University of South Carolina, reminds us that in earlier times people also lived long enough to grow old. She’s a bioarchaeologist, someone who studies human skeletons excavated from archaeological sites to see what life in the past was like. “There’s physical evidence that plenty of people in the past lived long lives – just as long as some people do today,” she writes.
Jane Campbell has some reading recommendations:
For some time, I have been relishing literature that offers wonderfully varying depictions of old women. They are good company. These are pieces that expose the cruelty inflicted on older women and that impress me with their capacity to pursue the essence of the complex creature that still exists inside the worn-out body. Inside them all is the fight for their independence.
I’ve mentioned before that I like baseball. I eagerly watched the 1992 movie A League of Their Own. Now Amazon has produced a TV series with the same title. In this article Ellen Gutoskey fills in some history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which lasted from 1943 until 1954.
Psychology Today takes a look at the happiness curve, which suggests that humans overall get happier after midlife: “The argument, which comes from huge data sets, suggests two ways to think about your own history. Don’t blame yourself so much for the bad time—and be optimistic that things will improve.”
“The most common personality change for people with dementia is apathy or sadness,” according to geriatric psychiatrist Gary Kennedy, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Bronx-based Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein School of Medicine. Though he added that physicians and psychiatrists wouldn’t hear about those patients who become sweeter and more loving because that’s not a problem.
Here Elena Bowes tells one of those stories that we don’t hear about often. Bowes describes how her 88-year-old mother has become “softer, kinder, more loving”—although, Bowes admits, she still occasionally catches a glimpse of her old mother, who was often critical and judgmental.
Linda Thurston tells the story of how and a group of friends at Boston University created a handbook called Birth Control, Abortion and V.D., A Guide for the B.U. Student. There were two editions of the handbook published, the first in April 1969 and the second in January 1970.
I attended Boston University from 1966 to 1970. Although I don’t specifically remember this pamphlet, I do remember what it was like in Massachusetts at the time: “you could only get a legal abortion in the US if you got two doctors to testify that having a baby would kill you.” Massachusetts was particularly strict, with public enforcement of antique laws still on the books that prohibited showing and describing of birth control devices in public.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown