On March 25 Gloria Steinem celebrated her 80th birthday. Still travelling, writing, and speaking out, Steinem is going strong and working hard. Here are some of her thoughts on getting older. The first is from the recent (March 22, 2014) article in the New York Times, This is What 80 Looks Like,by Gail Collins. The rest are from her essay Doing Sixty (from her book, in Moving Beyond Words). More than her words, her life with its fierce passion and commitment, continues to be an inspiration for women of all ages.
“Ever the positive thinker, Steinem composed a list of the good things about starting her ninth decade. A dwindling libido, she theorized, can be a terrific advantage: “The brain cells that used to be obsessed are now free for all kinds of great things. I try to tell younger women that, but they don’t believe me,” she said in a pre-Botswana interview. “When I was young I wouldn’t have believed it either.”
“It is different because it has a ring of mortality – so it has a big message to stop wasting time.”
“Clinging to the past is the problem. Embracing change is the solution.”
“As you can see, I’m just beginning to realize the upcoming pleasures of being a nothing-to-lose, take-no-shit older woman; of looking at what once seemed outer limits as just road signs.”
“More and more I’m beginning to see that life after fifty or sixty is itself another country, as different as adolescence is from childhood or the central years of life from adolescence.”
“What we all need, whatever our age, are personal role models of living in the present – and a change that never ends. We need to know that life past sixty or seventy or eighty is as much an adventure as it ever was, perhaps more so for women, since we are especially likely to find new territory once the long plateau of our role is over. Explorers of this region have always existed in some number, but now their lights dancing on the path ahead will guide many more.”