How we learn to be old and other thoughts on age and ageing

With only a month to go until The New Age of Ageing publishes we’re all getting quite excited at Policy Press as we prepare the book to go to press.

In the meantime authors Caroline Lodge, Eileen Carnell and Marianne Colemancan have been busy posting their thoughts and insights on the subject of the book, how it has informed their thoughts on and personal experiences of age and ageing, over on the Bookword blog.

In case you haven’t caught the blogs already we thought we’d share a few tasty snippets with you in the excepts below…

Learning to be old (first published in July on Bookword)

There are three authors of New Age of Ageing. Caroline Lodge asked the other two to reflect on what writing the book meant to each of them. This month, on her return from holiday, Eileen writes about three important contradictions, conundrums and challenges about ageing.

1.Performing old
2.Covering the signs of ageing
3.Not heading for the scrap heap

Eileen

Eileen Carnell

Performing old?

I was excited when I came across the idea that we learn to ‘perform’ or act old. As a feminist researcher I was aware of the concept of performing gender. Relating the idea to ageing was incredibly useful. I was amused by what Ruth said: ‘I am aware of changes, hearing myself making sitting down and standing up noises like an old person’. There are clear rules in our society about what old people should and shouldn’t do and wear and behave, just as there are clear expectations for women in our society….Read more of Eileen Carnell’s insights on the Bookword here

Ageing: it is not ‘them and us’, it is all ‘us’ (first published in June on Bookword)

As we continue in the series where the authors of New Age of Ageing reflect on what writing the book meant for each of them, this time Marianne writes about three things:

1.Her own learning, particularly how writing the book had clarified her thoughts about the ageing process and its implications for all of us.
2.Writing the book also made her face up to her own attitudes, anxieties and concerns about ageing
3.She also thought about the process of writing which was unusual as it involved collaboration between three of us and had to be fitted into everyone’s already busy schedules

Marianne

Marianne Colemancan

My own attitudes to ageing
What about my own attitudes anxieties and concerns about ageing? I am the product of my time, belonging to a generation growing up in the 1950s and 1960s and our generation does not so willingly accept the stereotypes and expectations that are associated with ageing.

Many of us see ageing differently now that we are those older people. Researching for and writing the book has given me even more of a perspective to stand back and see the changes relating to ageing in progress, and to recognise for example that beauty is not just in youth but also in maturity and decline.

Dropping any lurking stereotypes about age, I have become less judgemental in the ways that I look at people of all ages. I can’t pretend that I have no anxieties about getting older. In common with the people we interviewed I am concerned about health issues and how they might impact on me and when. Read more of Marianne Coleman thoughts on the Bookword blog here

Getting feedback to improve our writing (first published in May on Bookword)

Caroline Lodge

Caroline Lodge

Not all feedback helps to improve writing. Have you ever-experienced killer feedback? It’s the kind of feedback that makes you feel ashamed, humiliated and as if you wanted to put away the writing for ever.

Everyone I know has received it at some stage. I remember the reviewer’s comment on an article I’d submitted to an academic journal. This was the sentence that did it: If the author aspires to an academic position they should learn how to reference. It was doubly killing as a) I was already a university lecturer and b) there was nothing wrong with the referencing. Nevertheless I abandoned the article on the spot.

Yet feedback can be very helpful. The three authors of The New Age of Ageing sought out readers to provide different types of feedback, and to learn from and improve our writing by taking their comments into account. Here are our reflections on our learning from this process. Read more of Caroline Lodge’s post on the Bookword blog here….

9781447326830

The new age of ageing: How society needs to change by Caroline Lodge, Eileen Carnell and Marianne Colemancan be pre-ordered here from the Policy Press website for special 20% discounted price £11.99.

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blogpost authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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