Calling All OAPs —

(In Ireland, OAP is an Old Age Pensioner or, as Berna, our Irish Correspondent explains, more politely, it’s an Over Age Person.)

Anyway, this is an urgent call to all my OAP friends and acquaintances! Be sure ASAP to read Aging’s Misunderstood Virtues in the series, The New Old Age, in the New York Times. I missed it when it appeared in the daily paper, but I’ve caught up with it in time: here at last! is a Declaration of Independence by and for old people, of whom I am proud to be one.

The clarion is sounded by Lars Torstam, a Swedish sociologist: “We develop and change; we mature. …It’s a process that goes on all our lives, and it doesn’t ever end. The mistake we make in middle age is thinking that good aging means continuing to be the way we were at 50. Maybe it’s not…

“People tell us they are different people at 80,” Dr. Tornstam explained. “They have new interests, and they have left some things behind.”

He calls his theory gerotranscendance, and a lot of scientists find it interesting, and some are intensely skeptical, but I’m running the flag up the flagpole! I can’t do it justice here; if you are an OAP and have strong feelings about how you are supposed to be and how you want to be, and who you WILL be, and let the world go hang — read this story!

And if you’re young or middle-aged, and want to stake out your freedom early— read this story!

I guess what I’m saying is: Everybody, READ THIS STORY. And, in the spirit of gerotranscendance, if you don’t want to, don’t. (But I hope you do.)

This entry was posted in Etcetera, Personal Essay and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Calling All OAPs —

  1. Barbara says:

    What I like about the OAP term is that it is direct and to the point. No senior citizen enjoying his/her golden years. You are old – and as the Brits say, Just get on with it. I am the oldest person I know – the oldest in almost every restaurant I go to – the oldest in my exercise group – the oldest grandparent attending school events, etc, etc, etc. So what. I read that article and it rang true. Some of my interests have changed, (somewhere along the way, I lost my interest in novels, and discovered essays) but I am having a good time.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      I may do a post on this book sometime, but meanwhile here’s my recommendation: Diana Athill, Somewhere Towards the End. A Brit, an editor, an original, she is 91 (older than you!) but wrote this as a youngster of 89. Tough and tough-minded, honest, felicitous style — I loved it. (She even talks about losing interest in novels —-)


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