It began seven years ago in 2010. I felt frustrated with the pervasive fear of aging, angry with ageism that I witnessed or experienced:
The manicurist who looked at me and asked, “What colour nail polish does your mom want?” “I don’t know, she’s standing right here. Ask her!”
The “Beauty” sales-people who promoted anti-aging moisturizers,
The influx of entire stores dedicated to make-up that want us to hide our real skin and our age,
The many people and industries attached to (their) Youthdom.
I created an interview project so that I could better understand these fears, negative beliefs and attitudes. Once it began, I noticed how people wanted to talk about death and dying too, and it grew from there. As did I.
The interviews were posted on my Life Changes blog until 2014 when I decided to transform them into a book of stories with whomever wished to continue. It was a collaborative effort with each participant. And then, my dad became very ill and was dying. So I wrote and my own thoughts about aging, death and dying are woven through the stories.
It took a lot of work — stuckness, determination, and tears — and it was worth every complicated moment. These interviews, these conversations, taught me so much. They helped to prepare me for when my dad became ill and died. I learned that I could ask questions, and that no question was un-askable. They help me now when I’m faced with the disrespect of ageism, from young and old, towards young and old. They motivate me to keep working towards a society that respects and cares for each of us as we age, but especially our elders.
These interviews and conversations taught me that I’m just getting started. I’m done with the silence and acquiescence. I’m done with the resistance to aging and the attachment to youthdom. We deserve to age in a society that respects us at every year of our life. I’m going to say much more about this. Here we go.
Rich and Raw.
The book will be available for purchase tomorrow, October 3, 2017!