Ageism or Sageism? (From the archives of “Not Your Grandmother’s 70,” 2013)

Ageism or Sageism? (From the archives of “Not Your Grandmother’s 70,” 2013)

The question for today: How to impart wisdom to those following behind without sounding like a know-it grumpy old person.

I started this blog when I celebrated my 70th birthday. My challenge for the BIG birthday was a two-week trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. My birthday cake is the cover photo. Today I have another birthday. A little more quiet this year. My challenge for this year is actually to keep this blog going. So today, we begin.

The subtitle is “Alternative to being a senior citizen.” I mean that I want to encourage people to think differently about being a “senior citizen.” My preferred term is “Sage.” Being a sage means passing on your wisdom to the next generation. My challenge is understanding the difference between being a sage and just a batty-babbling old lady. What is essential to pass on? What wisdom do I impart?

Each generation wants to find its own way, but does that mean they are unwilling to learn from the past? I hope not. I have been watching Mad Men with a neighbor. We started with season one, which was set in 1960. The furniture, clothing, and more are very accurate. As we progressed through the series (we are now in season 5, set in 1965), I realized that the show represents my adult years. I was 19 the year the show began, and now we have reached my early married years. My friends ask, “Was it really like that?” Yes, yes, it was.

Yes, when I came to Little Rock Air Force Base in 1962, the local department store did have a “white ladies rest room.” Yes, women had to ask their husband’s permission to do anything, and you could not have your own bank account. Career? OK, as long as you are a teacher, a nurse, or a secretary. (I was a teacher.)

I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, both Kennedy assassinations, the march on Washington, and the civil rights bill. I saw the effects of Title 9 on women’s athletics. I sold bracelets for the Equal Rights Amendment fundraising and met in women’s “consciousness-raising” groups.

I want to be an active voice of the past, helping people — men and women — find their way in the world and helping us build a brighter future.

Will you join me on this voyage of discovery? I hope future generations continue to build on what we have accomplished. I hope they don’t just want to discover it all themselves.

Archives – 2015 from Not Your Grandmother’s 70… I Took A Walk On The Beach To Find My Purpose And Guess What Happened?

Archives – 2015 from Not Your Grandmother’s 70… I Took A Walk On The Beach To Find My Purpose And Guess What Happened?

I have been reminiscing over past posts, and this one still rings true. It is amazing how life repeats itself.

Here we go:

Today I took a walk on the beach, hoping to find a solution to a problem I had been wrestling with. I found an answer, but it was not what I expected. And the result is a lesson that might just apply to other situations.

I am working on a project and struggled with the structure and answering questions, like any good project manager: What is my purpose? Who is my client/audience? And finally, outline the scope of the work and set timelines.

So I walked on the beach. I enjoyed the sun, the breeze, the fresh air, and the sound of the waves. And suddenly, it hit me — I had no purpose, I had no objective, and I certainly was not thinking about who I was doing it for. I was simply enjoying a walk on the beach.

As I was totally lost in the experience, I realized I had lost my landmark. The shoreline looks different in the opposite direction. I was lost. I had lost my objective. I had no plan. I was hopelessly lost and would never find my way back to the cottage. Nonsense. Of course, I would get back, eventually. You can’t get lost when you have no destination. I was merely taking a beach walk and enjoying the scenery, the sensations, and the air. Walk a little further and just enjoy. Of course, my landmark gazebo popped up out of nowhere, and I was back on the path to the cottage. My home for today.

So what was my objective with the beach walk? To enjoy the moment. To revel in the senses. To breathe and ultimately relax.

And so I solved my problem. My project is to enjoy the creative moments without worrying about the objective, the audience, and the outcome. Just do it for the love of doing it – like walking on the beach. Eventually, you will find home.




We all have rituals. Some around events, holidays, and rites of passage. When do we find we must create new traditions? 

I recall years ago when I picked up my grandson from daycare. We had regular “gramma dates.” He is, at this time, four years or so. He tells me he doesn’t want gramma dates anymore. I was devastated. We went to sushi, and he grabbed up plate after plate and said, “gramma, why are you crying?”

It was a difficult right of passage for me.

There comes a time when the rituals must change. Oh, there is still the Family Christmas Eve, but we no longer hang around for Santa in the morning. That’s time for new rituals with the kid’s immediate


We all face times when the old rituals no longer work. The kids grow up. The grandkids grow up. Rituals change. This subject is very raw to me as I am trying to create new rituals to replace the old ones this weekend.

Before my grandchild was born, my family went to the Gorge to see Dave Mathews. As gramma, I held the baby, then the toddler. I made friends with the regulars. We went to Wilde Horse Campground, where I always felt accepted. I got hugs from the owners. Porta potties and sleeping in a tent was part of the scene. I loved it. 

This year was different. For a lot of reasons, I was not included in the entourage. It hurt a lot at first, like when my grandkid told me he didn’t want more gramma dates.

Time to recalibrate.

Did I want to sleep in a tent and use porta-potties? Part of me says yes. Then I recognized I was hanging on to my youth. I am trying to create events from before.

I don’t want to get stuck in time. Time for a new ritual. 

So here I am at a high-end lodge and spa. Lovely room with a fireplace and the sound of the falls. Luxuriate in fancy shower rituals, massage and soaking tubs on the schedule. I have achieved enough success so that I can afford these luxuries.

Yet I still fancy myself in a tent using a porta potty. 

What rituals have you given up? What do you wish you could still do?

Contemplate that and share in the comments. I would love to know! 

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Karin Quirk