Picture it: You’re old. Not "senior," not in your "power" years, not 80-as-the-new-60. Just old. "You look in the mirror," writes sociologist and psychotherapist Lillian Rubin in 60 On Up: The Truth About Aging in America (Beacon), and you think, That can’t be me. But once you get past media-fed fantasies about aging, you see that in our society, getting old means turning invisible. And Rubin, 83, should know. Author of 11 books on an array of human predicaments, she’s now written a sharp, brazenly honest exposé for the 78 million baby boomers who will grow old over the next two decades and can reasonably expect to survive into their 90s. How will their aging children take care of them? Who will pay for it? How will they stomach an interminable retirement? "The golden years? They’ve gotta be kidding!’" said one bitter retiree. "If this is gold, what’s brass?" ("What would you want me to write," Betty Friedan once asked, ‘that it sucks?") Rubin’s solution: challenging age discrimination, both culturally and politically, so we can envision "a self that’s more than just a collection of losses, one that can live more comfortably in what is almost inevitably an uncomfortable present." Grow old gracefully? If we’re lucky. Take it lying down? Hell, no!
Printed from Oprah.com on Saturday, December 7, 2013