Perennials-that-love-shadeElder, senior, aging, older, old. I want to be honest about where I am in life. I am, unapologetically, 73 years old. But I don’t really identify with any of these words.

“Elder” implies entitlement to authority and status that I may or may not have. “Senior” is a euphemism for “old” and I don’t go for euphemisms. I’m certainly “aging”–but isn’t everybody? And “old” is how I feel sometimes but I’ve tried calling myself old and it makes me–and others–uncomfortable.

Language matters, as Laura Carstensen writes in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, “In Search of a Word that Won’t Offend ‘Old’ People.” Continue reading

These things happen

I spent Mother’s Day afternoon at a funeral home. The visit stretched into several hours because of two things. The person who had passed away was well known and much loved and so the reception line to offer condolences to his widow was long and moved slowly. And then, after my husband and I had greeted the widow, we had extended conversations with the deceased’s father, mother, and aunt. We were, in fact, at the visitation because of the parents and aunt, who have been dear to us for a long time. Continue reading