Sunday, September 18, 2016

Katharine Whitehorn / Older and wiser

Older and wiser

We are living for longer than ever and that means assumptions about old age need to start changing. First up, how about hearing what we have to say?

Katharine Whitehorn
Monday 11 July 2016 11.00 BST

Old friends, old fashions, old ways of living… 10 days ago a couple of events interesting to the old fell, one after the other.
First Independent Age, a not-for-profit outfit deeply concerned with loneliness, held a meeting chaired by Diana Brittan in its premises in west London. Then after that, in the middle of the same evening, a launch at Selfridges of Advanced Style: Older and Wiser, a book with fantastic pictures of interesting older men and women and their stories brought together by Ari Seth Cohen.
Maybe I just think this because I’m ancient myself, but it seems to me that in the 1960s endless hours were spent concerned with the young and their problems. From just into teens to nearly fully grown, because they were not fitting into the accepted patterns and behaving in unusual ways. Now, this century, we are paying more attention than hitherto to the old.
I don’t know whether it’s because we tend to last longer than before, or whether the old assumptions about what we are like – or should be – have changed.
In one way we are worse off than before, because the young are so much better with all the internet and computer possibilities. But we probably live a lot longer and are fitter than we might have been expected. So we consider very different ways of behaving and thinking from our predecessors.
This may be looked back on as a golden time for grannies who refused to sit silently in the corner and for chaps who aren’t even trying to be as their father had been at their age. We might as well enjoy it while we can.

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