Age Well

A 45 year reunion of the Experimental Movement Lab at Connecticut College (plus a slideshow)

Photographer Peter Cunningham documented a day long reunion of a group of Wesleyan and Connecticut College alums who had shared a pivotal experience in the late sixties with dance guru Martha Myers. Realize Magazine, inspired by Cunningham’s wonderful photographs, asked Ara Fitzgerald to talk about the Lab and the reunion.

My painting is about the paradox of time and stillness. My mother and I share this appreciation...

I’ve heard all the old stories again and again.  Some are really interesting, but I take them all for granted – part of my identity.  My mother has always been a good story teller and still is. Now I'm hearing those stories all the time; the year she turned 90, she moved into my house in the mountains of North Carolina. 

She had been living in Galveston Texas with my younger brother and his wife. When their house was badly damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2007 she was homeless for six weeks; lived in a motel for a month and then was hospitalized with a serious case of pneumonia. When she was...

How painter Joni Wehrli conquers acrophobia swinging high in the air

When I learned a good friend of a good friend of mine, who happens to be well over 50, had been flying on a trapeze, weekly, over the past decade, I knew I had to witness it and then show the good readers of Realize that things you never thought possible at our age can be done with agility and grace.  Joni Wehrli gives us a voyeuristic thrill and talks about how the art of flying influences the art of painting; for her it is not only a source of exhiliration but of inspiration for her work as well.


Recognized as a top innovator in the field of aging, Bill Thomas is a live wire!
BOOMERS ~ You got what it takes to be an Elder? Watch this video interview and find out. Dr. Bill Thomas, 'one of WSJ's top 12 innovators' changing the future of retirement talks with Realize Magazine's editor Ellary Eddy.
Columbia Professor Michael Friedman explains why Art matters as we age

Are you wondering what you will do if and when you retire or no longer have time-consuming family responsibilities?  Are you already retired and bored, lonely, or finding that time slips away without getting much accomplished?  Are you feeling a loss of meaning in your life?  Doing art—whether music, visual art, writing, acting, pottery, etc.—is a viable solution.

Obviously, it depends on your own interests.  But if you are a person who was accomplished at one art form or another or a hobbyist who would like to go deeper, if you regret leaving an art form behind long ago and would like to get back to it or if...

Part 3: Pandora's Box

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There is no stopping scientific advances in our search for the meaning of our genetic code. This is the frontier, and the FDA, medical establishments, and consumers may just not be prepared. And with the costs declining rapidly, the information is now more widely accessible.                  


The oldest scar on my body is a thin white line on the under right side of my lower lip that marks where I jumped into the pool at the age of five and hit my face on the deck as I completed a perfect 180. I don’t recall if there was blood in the water, but I remember a beautiful woman in the changing room lamenting that I would be scarred for life. She was right.

There are the two perfect ridges, barely legible now, that traverse my lower abdomen marking my only planned surgery: a double hernia at the age of six. I remember the night before in the hospital, standing on my bed unable to sleep, spying...

Could the idea of getting older just be in our heads?

Of course I like it when someone tells me I’m not old.  But I always insist I am old, and that they are ageists, unwitting captives of Western culture’s misconception of the meaning of old age.  “You believe that old means being decrepit, over the hill, used up, finished?" I say. " Sorry, that’s just not the case, you can be old and good.”  Or, to say it another way, contrary to the ageist bias of today, it is possible to age well. 

These two sisters are still bringing the heat.
When you have nothing to lose, does the game get better? One sister duo is proving that age is just a mindset, both on and off the court.
Because there are epiphanies

Somewhere in my forties, raising a kid at home and trying to keep an art career afloat, I came to the sobering realization that life is 90 percent maintenance. Now this is a percentage that varies of course, depending on the size and density of the flack field one is traversing, but I would peg that amount at rarely under 85 percent.

In my parenting era I found myself hamstrung between my career goals and the obvious stay-at-home mom stuff like shopping and cooking, tackling school issues and supervising homework, setting up play dates and music lessons and, of course, chauffeuring.  On top of that, I was...

Henry Harvey Shakes the Retirement Concept Down with a Little Help from Bucky Fuller

In real-time, it’s 3:45 in the morning and this sentence just woke me up: "I Seem to be a Verb."  

It’s the title of Buckminster Fuller’s book, written in 1970.  Most folks know him as the guy who invented the geodesic dome, but he was far more: inventor, philosopher, author, designer, architect… futurist. It’s a terrific book, by the way, and though this isn’t a puff-piece about “Bucky,” if I had to pick a superhero or a mentor, it’d probably be him.

A Disclaimer:  Having spent virtually all of my 65 years on this planet as a guy, I really can’t speak for...

Roland De Wolk takes a relatively unfunny incident and makes a really funny story from it.

My Friend Len died not long ago. And then he wasn’t dead anymore. “Being dead isn’t so bad,” he told me sitting 20 feet from where he croaked in a Sausalito café along the waterfront. I want to say he deadpanned. But that would spoil the ending. 

Len’s in his late 60s. He has a Ph.D. from Stanford. He taught journalism at San Francisco State University for many years. He was no average professor type. He was universally regarded as the toughest teacher in the department and suffered no fools, gladly or with no gladness. In his fit 50s, when he could have just paid a lot of attention to the hoards of comely...

Toni Martin reflects on how the urgency of youth returns to post-50-somethings
MD Toni Martin reflects on how the urgency of youth returns to post-50-somethings.
So what’s on your list? Boomers, Bucket Lists and the Big Beyond
How did people start thinking of “buckets” in relation to death? The most popular theory is that it derived from the 1700’s, from the practice of standing a condemned person atop a bucket prior to tightening of the noose. Kick the bucket out from under the unfortunate, and – voila! Out of death is born a new metaphor.
Floridian Skip Sheffield Proves 'Geezers' can Surf!

Once the surfing bug has bit, it becomes a lifelong affliction.

I first attempted to stand on a homemade plywood surfboard when I was 14. Then on a trip to Santa Barbara CA, when I was 16, I got to ride a real surfboard. I was stoked.

I am now 65 and I still think of myself as a surfer (although I rarely go through the trouble of dragging a board to the beach.) I rationalize by saying that body-surfing is the purest form of surfing.

A few years back I visited Francis Poole, a friend since our college days at Florida Atlantic University. When Francis got a position at...

Director Jack B. Kahuna recounts an awesome game of Hockey played with guys half his age
Play hockey when you're way over 50? A moment of glory can be yours if you just keep playin'.
Author of When Will My Grown-up Kid Grow Up? Elizabeth Fishel talks about navigating the new terrain of the college graduate coming home to the 'empty nest'

Elizabeth Fishel, mother of two sons in their 20s, is the author of SISTERS, THE MEN IN OUR LIVES, I SWORE I’D NEVER DO THAT, and REUNION.   She has also written at length about family issues for Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and More. 

Read the Pat Hitchens' review of her new book When Will My Grown-up Kid Grow Up? and listen to Elizabeth discuss the struggles and joys of a returning 'emerging adult.'

New Contributing Writer Steve Fiffer ruminates on the curious phenomenon of the Obituary

Phil Winick, 87, founder of the Fluky's hot dog restaurants, died Wednesday in Louis B. Weiss Memorial Hospital.  Mr. Winick served up hot dogs in Chicago for more than three decades.  After retiring in the late 1960s, he was inducted into the Vienna Sausage Co.'s hall of fame... Chicago Sun Times obituary

Ambrose Bierce once defined a lawsuit as, "a machine that you go into as a pig and come out as a sausage."  In a sense the same can be said of obituaries.     

When my father--a lawyer, not a sausage maker--died suddenly some thirty-five years ago, the firm...

Columbia Professor/Mental Health Advocate Michael B. Friedman's short story contemplates how the will to live might be affected by Dementia.

He and his wife were having a drink in the garden of a small neighborhood restaurant.  As usual, they talked little, preferring to watch strangers.  Three men came shortly after they sat down.  One was in a wheel chair.  He could have been 80 or 90.  He was feeble and wore a plastic ID bracelet from a hospital, or more likely a nursing home.  His straight white hair was neatly parted on one side, and he wore an old-fashioned plaid shirt and tan khakis.  A man with a white beard and thinning hair who looked about 60 moved a chair away from one side of the table, slid the wheel chair in where it had been, then...

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