Book binding

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude was a coming of age book for me.  My sister, who was a much more precocious reader than me (actually, she was much more precocious than me in most ways), suggested I read it.  I tried. And I tried. I just couldn’t do it. I was too young, too immature, not ready, not her – whatever. Then, one day, I picked it up, and tried again, and loved it. A small triumph for younger siblings everywhere. Since then, I have read many more Garcia Marquez novels, probably many more than my sister (not), and especially enjoyed Love in the Time of Cholera.  My son’s favorite is Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Which brings me to another topic, one which I’m pretty sure Garcia Marquez would have appreciated: how books can be the ties that bind.

In thinking about the role my sister played in my eventual discovery of great literature, I found myself reminiscing about other important family books. Both my parents were avid readers, albeit of different genres.  To this day, I attribute my love of comedies of manners to my mom, who kept the Nancy Mitford oeuvre (also, Jennie, about Churchill’s wife, and Fear of Flying, about, oh, never mind), on her bedside shelf for years and years. My dad continues to be a fan of thrillers and spy stories.  He introduced me to Smiley’s people and other friends.

And so I was pleased to hear that my son has a favorite Garcia Marquez.  And not to forget my daughter, the Bobbsey Twins came up in conversation over Easter. We both always wished we were twins.  Adventurous British twins, that is. We have moved on from Enid Blyton and the likes, but my daughter is faithful to coming of age stories. Except with vampires.



I haven’t posted in over a week because I had shingles!  It was a minor case, but what with one thing and the next, I just couldn’t get to The Aging Review.  But I’m back!  And skin has been on my mind, due to the bright red blotchy patch on my forehead, which, luckily, is now almost gone.

And so, after reading the paper, I thought I would write about the skin and exercise article in the New York Times (which, in short said that exercise is good for your skin, unless you’re exercising in the sun or extreme cold unprotected), but I got distracted by the great write-up Noah Emmerich, who is currently starring in The Americans on FX,Noah Emmerich received in The Observer.  I went to college with Noah, and we recently re-connected. He was great then and is great now!

Noah’s career is really taking off thanks to a series of acclaimed performances, including in Little Children and The Truman Show, which both go a ways back at this point.  Also, I was thrilled to read that he is still pals with Josh Malina,Joshua Malina of Scandal.  Theirs is, apparently, an example of enduring and mature male friendship, a welcome alternative to what TV and contemporary film would have us believe are the only options for guys.  Go Noah! Go Josh! Go enduring and mature male friendships!




Golden Oldies

I was sorry to read about Mickey Rooney’s passing.  It’s not that I am all that familiar with his films.  Rather, I associate him with my dad who, over the years has reminisced fondly about some of the classic Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland musicals.  And, of course, Boys’ Town.

My dad, who turned 86 last week, still goes to the movies every now and then, but mostly enjoys reminiscing about the films he watched in his younger years.  This has nothing to do with his advancing age; he has always been that way. As I have mentioned before, I grew up in Paris. When I was a little girl in the late 60s, and 70s, there were very few theaters there that showed movies in their original version. One, Le Ranelagh, was walking distance from our home.  It was an ancient, dark wood theater with a balcony that showed Hollywood classics. We went to them all, as far as I can tell. For Dad, it was a walk down memory lane; for me, it was the beginning of a lifetime love for classic film. (I also remember seeing the entire Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan series, but that’s for another post.)

I am sure TCM will be showing the Mickey Rooney oeuvre soon, if they aren’t already. The Aging Review is taking this moment to suggest some other golden oldies, culled from my dad’s list of favs, as its own homage to Mickey Rooney:

To Be Or Not To Be (the Ernst Lubitsch version)

The Lady Vanishes

Bringing Up Baby

Arsenic and Old Lace

Singin’ In The Rain

It’s supposed to rain again this weekend.  Could be the perfect time to catch up on some viewing!


What’s next?

Is it just me, or does it seem like every other New York Times article recently is about people re-thinking aging and planning for the rest of their lives? Coincidence?  I don’t think so…..

In any case, welcome to The Ambition Studio.  The Ambition Studio offers workshops for women transitioning from one role to another. And it’s not just for women of a certain age, either. Participants include women envisioning a first career after college, re-writing their relationship status, returning to work, empty-nesting, embarking on a Third Act, and much more.  In short, the women of The Ambition Studio are navigating the lifecourse with a commitment to engaging with the world, but are not quite sure of what’s next.

In a supportive and confidential group setting, the two-day workshops help participants articulate a personally meaningful definition of ambition that can include domains such as work, family, creativity, autonomy, health, home, etc. Through guided conversation, group work, personal reflection and social activities, participants identify what the fulfillment of this ambition would look like, and what steps are required to get there.

The next workshop is booked, but stay tuned to for upcoming opportunities to make your ambition a reality!

The good, the bad and the great

Bad news first: that was not a comment from Germany after all. It seems to have been posted instead by a computer! But, the good news is, the comment from Switzerland is legit, so TAR is still global.

And the great news is that Ms. Shmurak wrote a really nice response to the post that mentions her, and sent out the link to her FB friends, and someone already posted it further. Will The Aging Review go viral? Stay tuned….


Is the New York Times getting boring for followers of The Aging Review who also happen to read that paper…? Oh, OK, probably not.  That being said, this week’s Retirement section and the Arts & Leisure section include redundancies for TAR followers.  Didn’t catch them?  No worries.  I’ll point them out.

The first is the wonderful piece on wisdom, which includes reference to Joan and Erik Erikson’s work on generativity – and a great portrait of them, I might add. Another is a review of Le Weekend, focusing on Lindsay Duncan.  Ta-dah!

Beyond that, I have a personal experience to share that has made my day.  I opened up my computer this morning to see a Friend Request from a former teacher of mine, Carole Shmurak. Ms. Shmurak was a chemistry teacher at my high school.  Actually, I’m not even sure it was chemistry, having never enrolled in a formal course with her, not being a scientist, myself.  Instead, I was able to experience one of her winter-term intensive electives.  This one was on the history of American film.  It’s a course I remember to this day.  Not only because it continues to enrich my life with the cultural knowledge it provided me, but also because it introduced me to a crucial bit of wisdom, which I am acting on right now with this blog: find room to do what you love.  Ms. Shmurak was a science teacher, but film was her passion. A bunch of years later (OK, 33 years later), she has a former student who remembers (almost) her every word, and, perhaps even more importantly, learned the lesson that the willingness to make your own opportunities is a great boon to life satisfaction.

Ms. Shmurak is now a mystery writer. She has apparently continued to infuse her life with creativity and passion.  If that’s not a sign of wisdom, I don’t know what is.

50 is the new 60?

Lindsay Duncan stars in a film that has not yet come out here in the U.S., but which is being pre-viewed if you go to see, say, The Lunchbox, at the Angelika, in NYC. The Lunchbox is an Indian almost-love story between an older man and younger woman (I can’t say more since some of you might see it; suffice it to say it’s completely un-American in one key aspect), which has its charms, but which is ruined by its terrible ending – in my modest opinion.

On the other hand, the preview of Le Weekend, about a couple in their sixties who go to Paris for a second honeymoon, seems to be completely predictable — and, I hope, much more satisfying — as a fun, irreverent British romantic comedy, which is a type of film you either go for or not. Watching the preview, my friend and I had the same reaction.  Jim Broadbent looks ten years younger, and who is that lovely actress who plays opposite him?

Well, she’s Lindsay Duncan.  If you read the New York Times, you’ll see an interview with her today.  Turns out, she’s well known in Britain, and highly respected for stage and screen work.  And she’s very beautiful, as an aside.

The interview ends with this quote, “I want to have the career that is my choice — what interests me, what doesn’t,” she said. “I feel more and more strongly about that.”

 And that’s what I want to comment on today.  In the past year or two, I have had innumerable conversations with women in their 50s whose children are in college, and who are going back to work, considering career changes, or more generally wondering about their next steps.  These are not depressed empty nesters.  Instead, they seem to be energized by the opportunities of the time ahead.  Zeroing-in on which opportunities to pursue is a tension, but better this than perceiving no prospects, surely.

The over-riding motivation of these women seems to be to do something that is meaningful on a personal or societal level, sometimes both.  This is, of course, what Erik Erikson would refer to as the Generative vs. Stagnant urge, except I’m pretty sure he did not mean people quite as young as 50, and certainly not women.  For obvious reasons, I hesitate to suggest that 50 is the new 60 (or that women are the new men). Just something to think about….