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Experience January/February 2023

The Unbearable Excitement of Aging

Jennifer J Rose

The Unbearable Excitement of Aging
klebercordeiro via Getty Images

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Cal-Berkeley activist Jack Weinberg’s 1964 off-the-cuff remark “Never trust anyone over 30” could get him in deep trouble today, although more than a few might come back with “Never trust anyone under 60.”

The empowerment and competence that come with age compete with the shock of your grandparent’s reflection in the bathroom mirror. Gnarly, like the bougainvillea that never stops growing and blooming, not even after the most severe hatchet job.

Gnarly, like those waves that fill surfers’ dreams. Barnacles of age, unreliable personal plumbing, and funerals offset the strength of experience, the self-confidence of maturity, and the no-longer-giving-a-damn about others’ opinions.

We’ve come a long way since Maggie Kuhn founded the Gray Panthers back in 1970, but the work’s still not finished. No matter how optimistic it sounds, let’s face it: age isn’t just a number. And a little gold lamé and brighter eye shadow makes you just a tad less invisible.

This issue of Experience looks at what age and ageism can mean for lawyers, their clients, and even those whose memories of 9/11 are more vivid than where they were when Kennedy was shot.

Recognizing senior lawyers’ unique needs, Californian Judith Droz Keyes created an affinity group at her law firm to celebrate, support, and enhance their lives, just as the same groups serve the needs of minority, young, and specialty lawyers. She shares the roadmap in “Senior Attorneys and Ageism: The Next DEI Frontier.”

Ohio lawyer Gerald J. Todaro’s compelling piece “How Prepared Are You for a Sudden Emergency?” came about when his mother could no longer live on her own, forcing his family to face decisions they should’ve made earlier.

For those lawyers who fear that retirement will spell boredom, Indianan Douglas Church has the answers in “Avoiding the Slippery Slope into Oblivion,” where he encourages you to push past self-imposed boundaries.

Marquette University Law School professor David Ray Papke is back, this time exploring what should be done about physical and emotional abuse of older people. He takes a long, hard look at gerontophobia and suggests that ageism be treated as a hate crime.

Family law is one practice area where a lawyer’s age is an advantage, according to Seth Kramer, who examines the practice in Los Angeles, where experience counts for something.

If you’ve never heard of Aid and Attendance, the nonservice–connected, tax-free lifetime pension for veterans and their surviving spouses who require the aid and attendance of another person to manage their daily living, you’re not alone. Leasha West brings you up to speed in “The Paydirt of Long-Term Care Nobody Knows About.”

Stephen Terrell regales us with a sage tale of Harry Bemis and the mature pleasure of reading. David Zachary Kaufman points out how even traveling with a net can be risky business. And Jeffrey Allen and Ashley Hallene are back with the “Smartphone Buyer’s Guide: Apple Edition.”

Sit back a while, put your feet up, and read this issue from cover to cover. And let us know what you want to read in coming issues.