AGING & AGEISM STORIES
(views expressed are those of the contributors)
Aging & Ageism Stories give you a voice on an issue that affects all of us.
Whether you are older or younger, retired, or at the beginning of a career – by sharing your experience, you will open people’s eyes and hearts to both your experience of aging and how widespread, normalized and hurtful ageism is. But most importantly, know that you are not alone.
Your submission (story, video, poem, art, photo, etc) can be long or short, anonymous, or linked to your real name – it is your choice.
Let’s get talking.
Ageism is part of a far wider cultural problem...
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Lemons = Lemonade.
March 6, 2021
My old workplace - a newsroom - offered 10 vacation days per year, but allowed me to schedule only 6 at a time. So in February 2019, my wife and I designed our 6-day May holiday. We paid for the flight, the rental car, and the cottage in the English countryside.
Then, in April, I was fired. After nearly 10 years on the job. No explanation. I was 68 years old. So we said whatthehell, and tacked several days in Wales and London onto the end of our vacation. It was the nicest holiday we've had, in more than 10 years.
When we returned, I got sick and nearly died. I still jokingly tell people that I was probably Patient Zero for the COVID-19 virus. So I cranked out a spec screenplay about my wasted youth, thinking it might be the last thing I ever wrote. The idea had been fermenting in my brain for more than four decades, and I kept putting it off. But it turns out that a brush with death focuses the mind with laser-like clarity and "imminent demise" is a powerful motivation. After the script was converted into an eBook, it appeared almost immediately on Amazon's Performing Arts Best Sellers list.
So I'm really glad I got fired and nearly died. And I'm especially grateful for that misspent youth.
Alan C. Baird http://9TimeZones.com/cote.htm
Flight Path for Thomas Page
March 6, 2021
Above the motel
planes fly low, roaring whistling.
Clatter of laundry carts, refrigerator's vibrato
disturb my rest.
I recall the hawk I saw
from the car window
circling, riding a downdraft,
imagine his screeching
ground squirrels running for cover.
I dream the woman
sprawled in the alley behind my apartment
grime covered, wine-bottle nearby
limbs splayed, struggling to get up...
We are in separate queen beds, you and I.
My gray hair is dyed; you are mostly bald.
You worry about pleasing me.
I know my tummy is fat.
We will probably not make
noise together tonight.
And I might think we are all just prey
road-kill in the Mad Clown's Master Plan.
Except that we have just listened to poets mourn
stone milkless breasts
jungles' blooming fireballs, phantom limbs,
the moon disappearing.
And I happily chant
for roundness, flame, humor
the nourishment of flowers.
And your laptop is tapping tapping
and your tales are coming coming
as my pen soars across this page
recording the gentle sounds you make
By Nancy Shiffrin
included in Flight accepted by wordpoetrybooks.com
These are poems composed and/or collected after my seventieth birthday. Nancy and Tom married in Los Angeles February 6, 2019.
March 2, 2021
I started writing as a preteen, as a way of coping with my environment. My mother used to say that I was cut from a different cloth, and not like my sisters. She was right but that didn’t make the situation any more tolerable. I wrote short stories, poetry and took to drawing all over the walls, Mural Art.
My interest in writing and art go hand in hand. But I am more skilled as a visual artist and definitely have more public exposure in this arena. I continued creative writing classes from grade school into college. I attended LACC and studied filmmaking and screenwriting. I struggled but couldn’t stop.
Years later, I learned that I had childhood posttraumatic stress symptoms due to earlier parental abduction. So, my learning retention was not the best, and even today my thoughts will scatter like leaves in the wind when I’m overwhelmed. Writing is therapy for me.
I wrote short stories but couldn’t bring myself to send them out. I know that slaughtered the English language and couldn’t remember grammatical rules. Most of my money and time was spent searching out inexpensive proofreaders. I didn’t have faith in my abilities, and with good reason. In my 30s, I shifted my focus to children’s books and some poetry. I still struggled with self-doubt but I’m stubborn. I persevered and landed in three poetry anthologies, and I saved my rejection letters from publishers.
A graduate degree in my 40s, representation by LACMA for my efforts in visual arts and the purchase of a Mac helped to bolster my confidence. But writing became my hobby and visual arts took center stage. I didn’t return to writing seriously until my late 50s, a chronic eye disorder caused temporary blindness for two years. During this time, I was flooded with story ideas, and I wrote.
I am proudly in my 60s, and I don’t write with the American audience in mind. I feel that we, as a culture, throw away too many valuable experiences. I enjoy writing romantic comedies and suspenseful horror. And I belong to several online writing groups like Women of Color in Film.”. I’m looking for a Soul Tribe, and a compassionate Mentor. AIM, thank you for reaching out to me. “Don’t stress the small stuff, life is too short.”
Donna Maria Woods, M.A
February 25, 2021
I was working on a contract at an animation studio animation, and all was going well. I met with my two bosses, a married couple and talk went to high school. When I told them when I graduated, they looked shocked, and told me: "Oh my god, you're OLD!" The subsequent old"jokes" went on for quite some time. I had been labeled, and in hindsight should have gone to HR. They were a decade younger than me and assumed that I was their age, and though they would never discriminate against another protected class, it seemed fine to make fun of me because I was older than they were.
I left the animation studio and have gone on to write numerous published books, feature films, and animated films. And still, their words are in my life story. So very wrong, so morally incorrect. Thanks for reading!
OLDER NOW, BUT STRONGER STILL
February 23, 2021
Older now, but wiser still
Letting all the old wounds heal
Reflecting memories far away
Dreams and hopes and love and play
Older now, but sturdy still
Soul is open so it can feel
Whatever comes that we may face
Keep up the run, won’t slow the pace
Older now, but stronger still
Life’s achievements we can seal
Like a letter sent with no return
Can’t go back; Still more to learn
Wiser still, but older now
Like a faithful horse that pulls the plow
Still so much new earth yet to till
Older now, but stronger still
By Gregory N Amour