Posts tagged Reinventing Ourselves
Recently my mother, a true Life Changer, started sending me emails. In her latter years (I am sworn not to reveal her age) she has gone back to study computer skills, and she and her older sister send all manner of unwanted spam emails to members of the family who write back begging them not to pass on any more bad jokes or warnings about the danger of drinking from plastic bottles. My mother has rediscovered a large family back in her native city of London who she talks and sends photos to regularly. She and my aunt aren’t alone in their embracing of the Internet.
The fastest growing users of Facebook are not tweenagers but people over the age of 74 according to social media expert Laurel Papworth. The number of such users has almost quadrupled in two years. These true Life Changers are not sitting at home and knitting, or playing golf following retirement, they are out reinventing themselves, using their brains, growing synapses by getting their grandkids to teach them the art of social networking. They are blogging, tweeting and writing reviews, they are on Facebook and all sorts of social networking sites keeping in touch with family and friends.
Papworth says, “Retirees and residence of nursing homes are not watching sport or playing bingo any more. Across the USA nursing homes are installing computers. And the trend is coming here.” (more…)
Went to see my friend, and colleague Brian Sherman this week; founder of Voiceless animal rights activist group; former Director of Channel Ten and still a hot shot business identity. I interviewed him in the 80s when I was a finance journalist at the Financial Review. He was a young finance high flyer; I was an eager ambitious reporter. Both of us were obsessed with money, career and ego. 25 years later we meet again in Byron Bay and we have lunch. He was by then a staunch animal rights advocate, having moved from earthly concerns to a deeply spiritual position on the ecology of life; at the time I lived in a rainforest and had embraced Buddhism, preaching in my weekly column: “First do no harm!”
My first day back at University since I was a girl, thinking about the day that was.
There’s a new phenomenon that I’m witnessing around me; it transgresses race, gender, and social status. I call it RSS Reinventing Self Syndrome. Almost all of my friends are doing it. Getting to a certain age, and deciding they’re uninspired with themselves or their chosen path in life. And going back to university or tech to retrain. Changing careers mid-stream.
It’s not uncommon to see women whose kids have left home going back to study so they can develop that career, or artistic talent. But this is far broader and far more staggering. It’s a 40-something thing. I know a business leader who left to become a working artist; a successful businesswoman who’s just returned to university to become a clinical psychologist; a lawyer who’s recently added TV producer to his bow. My boyfriend left engineering work – handling timber and steel — to work with the mechanics of the human body, as a physical therapist at a leading health spa. I recently met a meteorologist turned journalist, poor thing.
It’s never too late to embrace one’s passions. As one RSS friend said: “I realised that I couldn’t do the same thing my whole life. Getting up each morning to the same routine seemed more terrifying than gritting my teeth and taking the plunge.” My favourite story is from New York where I’ve just studied Media arts for a semester; praying that it was not too late in my life to expand my horizons.
Photographer and Video Maker Rosalind Solomon, came to lecture us. She is in her 80s, and a leading light in her field.
A distinguished, grey-haired woman she’d embarked on gruelling world trips to dangerous regions; and her latest exhibition on Ritual was getting rave reviews.
But she wasn’t the grand ol’ dame of her craft. Trained as a political scientist, it wasn’t until later in life that she decided become a professional photographer and has only recently found commercial success through “this wonderful new internet” thing.
I too have discovered that my next passion is working with images; moving and still. Sitting at my university admissions lecture last week, surrounded by bright young things, I felt like a mangy old dog. And then I remembered Rosalind, who revealed her wrinkled skin and age spots in merciless self-portraits for a study on mortality. Such bravery has earned her critical acclaim and helped catapult her to a darling of the New York Arts scene in her twilight years.
As one critic recently wrote of Rosalind’s exhibition: “This youthful octogenarian…. let’s us know she’s just getting warmed up.” The perfect RSS Life Changer catch-cry.