A recent article in the NY Times by Kate Zernike pointed out that ageism is painful sterotyping but references Dr. Butler (an advocate for successful aging) as cautioning “against embracing the opposite sterotype- the idea that aging successfully means that you have to be banging on drums in front of thousands-or still be acting like you did at 22 or 42. ”
There must be a happy medium between early onset Alzheimer’s or sky-diving grandmas, according to Anne Bastings, the Director of the Center on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin. What are the implications of these opposing views for the sixties? Is there increased pressure to try to control everything that happens to us through diet and exercise? And should we be preoccupied with these goals- positive though they may be- to the exclusion of rocking in the chair and contemplating the connections between past, present and future?
While it’s certainly important to celebrate the sixties and take advantage of all options, it’s important not to romanticize this time or feel compelled to pursue unrealistic possibilities or blame ourselves because we might not have the same needs and desires we once had. Comparisons with others in their sixties are just as destructive as they were in junior high.