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More of your stories about life after 60.
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Host Anna Sale and the logos for Death, Sex & Money and WNYC Studios, all on a beige background.

I think today I will finally take down my Christmas tree. I’ve wanted to hold on a little longer this year to the lights and the smells and the general special occasion feeling in my living room, but now, as I look at the needles that have gone from deep green to gray-ish brown, I can see: it is time for me to accept reality.

Time is marching on. 2021 is here, and what was hard and terrible about last year just rolled over into this one. History continues to happen to us, in ways that I wish we could block or talk ourselves around. My Christmas tree isn’t going to self-care me out of another several more waves of grief about what is happening in America, how we are treating one another, and how few of us feel safe. 

There’s no getting around the terrible and disgusting right now. But I have been comforted (a bit) by thinking about all the others before me who’ve been cornered by history and had to learn how to move through it. 

I was reading the novel Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry last night. My friend Carol gave it to me for Christmas—a signed copy! (Carol is a great friend.) The novel is narrated by a Kentucky woman named Hannah, who is looking back as an old woman—which is fitting given our focus this month on your reflections on aging. Hannah grew up poor, in a tough, messed up household in the 1920s and 30s. She graduated high school and left her family’s patch of farmland to try to make her way in town. She lands a clerical job, starts saving money, and then, falls deeply in love. She marries and carves out a place in her husband's family and the work it takes to keep their farm going. Then, her husband is sent to off to war and is killed. And the rest of the book is about what happens after. She lives on alongside the hole of what was and the future she’d imagined. And all around her, people are mourning, the man she lost and others they lost in the war. They continue on, as America keeps changing around them. Both disappointing them and delivering them. 

It is not a happy read, but it did make me ready to look clear-eyed at my dying Christmas tree and know I had to do what I could.

—Anna and the Death, Sex & Money team

P.S. After the events of the past week, we've decided to postpone our live call-in show that was scheduled for tonight. Text "aging" to 70101 to get an update when we have a rescheduled date.

This Week on Death, Sex & Money
These are just a few of the people you'll get to know in our latest episode, "Just Ask Us: Your Stories About Life After 60." After we asked you to share your stories about the often-unspoken parts of aging, we heard from lots of you—about everything from financial instability to evolving relationships to unexpected health troubles. "It’s hard to talk about all of this," one listener told us. "I don’t think I ever discussed this time of life with my own parents." 

If you're over 60, and you want to share your own reactions or stories with us, our inbox is always open at deathsexmoney@wnyc.org. And if you're not yet 60, we'd love for you to share the episode with someone in your life who is. Go here to send them a special email that will tell them about the project, and includes a link to listen. 
Your Stories: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Aging
We've heard from many listeners over 60 over the last few months. This week, we heard from a 63-year-old listener named Gail, who's dealing with some expected—and unexpected—changes:
"Talking about getting old is really complicated. There's so many different aspects to it. I think about how it's kind of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good for me is that I still feel like I'm 18 years old. I still run around. I wear a bikini to the beach. I teach an exercise class, and I own my own business, and I'm still working full time. I'm also an artist, so I paint and I make jewelry. I love to dance and I'm a runner. So I'm acting like I'm not 63, and I really don't feel it, which is great, but really the best part is the fact that I don't sweat all the small stuff anymore. And it's such a great release and feeling to be done with that. Especially sweating about money, I've stopped doing that. I sleep at night. I don't lay awake worrying about things.

The bad is that even though I feel like I'm 18, I don't look like I'm 18. And so when I look in the mirror, that's kind of a cold realization. I don't recognize that person. And it's kind of strange because when I was younger, I got a lot of attention from men. I don't get that attention anymore. You sort of understand that your time is more limited now. I end up thinking about that a lot, how I only have a certain amount of years to fill everything in.

The ugly is that my husband, who I have been with since I was 15 and he was 18, learned that he has cancer about a year ago. That diagnosis has really changed everything for us. It affected him mentally and physically. He doesn't feel well a lot, and that makes me feel really bad. And I just see my life completely differently now because now I've been forced to think about a life that's going to look different as I get older than what I thought it was going to look like. I mean, I hope that's not true, but, it's brought things out that I've had to face and it makes me scared."

—Gail, 63, Washington, D.C. area

Listen to This: Audio We Love

As this week’s unrelenting news continues, we wanted to give those of you who may need some distance from it a few listening recommendations from our crowdsourced Pandemic Tool Kit. Check out more suggestions here, and feel free to add your own!
The logo for the Earwolf podcast Best Friends with Nicole Byer and Sasheer Zamata. Nicole is a Black woman with straight hair, a white t-shirt, and red lipstick holding a red umbrella, and Sasheer is also a Black woman with short curly hair with a shaved side. She holds a yellow umbrella and is wearing a black jacket, a black tie, and a white shirt.
Elizabeth recommended the podcast Best Friends with Nicole Byer and Sasheer Zamata, specifically their episode featuring LeVar Burton and his wife, Stephanie Cozart Burton. She called it “particularly delightful and charming.”
The logo for the podcast Truth Be Told features an orange background, the KQED logo in white in the top left corner, and a drawing of a mouth and part of a septum piercing. The mouth is open and has dark red lips, and a speech bubble is next to it that says "Truth Be Told" in black, blocky capital letters.
Our friends at KQED’s Truth Be Told shared their “Soul Hugging Music” Spotify playlist for when you need a break from podcasts, but want to listen to “songs that heal.”
The logo for UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, which features UCLA in blue sans serif letters, and MARC in black serif font.
If you need to quiet your mind, Jess shared this meditation from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. It's specifically made for working with difficult emotions or body sensations.
The podcast art for the show It Was Said, featuring a photograph of a man giving a speech, with a spotlight on the man. "It Was Said" is in large white capital letters, and the host's name is in smaller capital letters in yellow. The History Channel logo is in the bottom right corner.
And if you’re looking to history to understand our current moment, Kristi suggested two podcasts hosted by Pulitzer-Prize winning author Jon Meacham. It Was Said looks back at 10 of the most significant speeches in American history, and Hope, Through History, examines moments when “perseverance and leadership got us through.”
Coming Up on Death, Sex & Money
A photograph of Marlo Thomas: she is smiling at the camera and wears a black blouse and dark blue jeans. She's sitting on a beige couch surrounded by several floral pillows, and a series of plants and flowers.
All this month, we're talking with guests over 60—starting with actor and activist Marlo Thomas. Last year, she and her husband of 40 years, Phil Donahue, released a book together called What Makes A Marriage Last, in which they interviewed well-known couples about the secrets to their own lasting relationships. 

Next week, look out for my conversation with Marlo about how her own beliefs about marriage evolved in her young adulthood, and about how her relationship with Phil has shifted as they've entered their 80s. "You notice that you're different than you were 20 years ago, 30 years ago, certainly 40 years ago," Marlo told me. "We talk about it a lot, with every little creak and groan." 
"This is my favorite podcast for so many reasons and I want to, in this small way, help you guys keep making magic."
—Sonia, Idaho

Join Sonia and support our work at Death, Sex & Money!
Give now at deathsexmoney.org/donate.
Keep an eye out for the next episode in our aging series next week!

And if you're not over 60, don't forget to share our episodes with someone in your life who is! We've made it easy—click here
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