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December 28, 2021

 

Hi there, 

 
I waited with bated breath for And Just Like That..., the new Sex and the City reboot, to arrive. The original Sex and the City was a lifesaver for me. After an ugly divorce at age 60, it transported me back to my carefree 30s in New York City when I was one of a group of girls just like Carrie and her friends, before I married the wrong man in my 40s.

I was hoping the reboot would offer me the same escape. But it did the opposite. It plunked me back into my current reality, which is all about loss, death, and no sex. 

I found myself relating to Miranda’s husband, Steve, more hangdog than ever, who is hard of hearing; to Carrie's new squeamishness about graphic sex talk; and to falling out with a BFF like Samantha. Not to speak of death, but by now it’s hardly a spoiler anymore: I wept when Mr. Big died at the end of the first episode.

Now that I’ve adjusted my expectations for the show, I will still watch to spend time in the company of old friends. I just hope the show riffs on the reality of aging as the season continues. I love the fashions, but I want to see a mention of how walking in Manolos is ridiculous for older women, what dating is really like in your 50s, and maybe even the inside scoop on bad plastic surgery.

I’m Erica Manfred, in my late 70s, Geezer Geek, Snarky Senior, and author of I’m Old so Why Aren’t I Wise? I moved to Florida alone in my trusty Ford Focus seven years ago from upstate New York and haven’t regretted it. I’ve always written about my life, and now that I’m old, aging and ageism are what I care about most. I’m writing this newsletter as part of the event platform Life Experienced. Each week, I’ll be exploring what matters to us later in life, from finding community to nuts-and-bolts stuff like figuring out our phones. Know someone we should feature? Email us at Info@LifeExperienced.com or join us on Facebook
A photo of Joan Cartwright with the headline "Jazz musician Joan Cartwright on being a Renaissance woman

 

Dr. Joan Cartwright, age 74, began singing at the age of 4 and never stopped. An explosive jazz and blues singer, composer, and educator, she has performed in the U.S. and Europe for 30 years—and she holds a doctorate in business administration. A fervent advocate for women in music, she spearheads Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization that promotes female musicians globally. She’s written and published 14 books, including her own original music. She also publishes two magazines—MusicwomanMagazine.com and MusicmanMagazine.com—hosts a podcast, and puts out a monthly newsletter. As if that wasn’t enough for one person, she teaches public speaking four days a week at a local college.

I interviewed this fascinating, multitalented woman hoping to find out the secret of her nonstop energy.

Tell me about yourself. Where did you grow up and what inspired you to become a jazz musician?
My parents were both military and served in World War II. My mother was an entrepreneur. She sold Avon, Tupperware, china, girdles, Shaklee, everything except the Brooklyn Bridge. She would have sold that if it was for sale. My father worked for the U.S. Railway Mail Service. I was brought up in New York City. 

We were music people. My father loved classical music and jazz, and he had all the big band music, singers, albums, and a beautiful stereo. I played the piano, but records taught me the American songbook. I internalized scatting listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Dakota Staton. I started singing at 4, and by the time I was 27, I was known as a bebop singer in New York. 

I moved to Florida in 1984 because there was a flourishing jazz scene in Fort Lauderdale. I loved being a big fish in a small pond.

It seems like you’ve had at least five careers.
More than five–dancer, singer, writer, entrepreneur, web designer. Right now I’m a publisher and professor, but from 80 to 90, I plan to paint. I’m a Renaissance woman. 

Why is it so important to support women in music?
My soapbox is that women are marginalized in the industry. We earn less than 15 percent of a $30 million to $40 million industry. There are whole orchestras with only men in them funded by our tax dollars. The Black community is ravaged by bad music produced by white producers. The messages are in the music, which downgrades women. It’s devastating the Black community.

How did you have time for a personal life?
Somehow, I fit in four (now ex) husbands, two children, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. I’m free now. I live in singular bliss.

What was your biggest obstacle?
I married four big obstacles. Two were brutal. I sang love songs and came home to a jealous man. None of them were supportive. Since then, I’ve had lovers but couldn’t do the marriage thing anymore.  I love men, don’t get me wrong, but you shouldn’t marry them.

What’s your secret to being accomplished in so many areas?
I’m a Sagittarius with Taurus rising. I just keep going straight ahead. You’re going to stop one day; why stop in the middle of the stream? If you’re not doing things, you’re dead. You gotta live, and to live means activity, to do.

What do you think other people your age should know about staying productive and relevant?
Join a community with young people. And get them to show you technology. I know more about computers than my students. I was a web designer in the ‘90s. Study something. Learn how to do something. My students teach me a lot.

Best advice for aging well?
Only do what you absolutely want to do. And slow down. I’ve slowed down. I used to be on the road all the time but now love being home. When I travel these days–I just came back from Spain and Switzerland–it’s as a tourist, not working. I only do what I absolutely want to do. If I don’t want to do it, I’m not gonna do it.

Featured event

Learn outdoor skills
Build a 24-hour kit for home or car
Saturday, January 15, 2022, 12-2 p.m. EST
RSVP by Wednesday, January 12, 2022, 12 p.m. EST

What should you pack to be prepared for an emergency? With so many weather disasters these days, we all need to have an emergency kit. This online Meetup is a great starting point for the beginner who wants to get ready. It’s a show-and-tell opportunity as well. If you already have an emergency pack, share your good ideas with the group. 

RSVP

Partner spotlight

The Kern County Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) is a collaboration between the Independent Living Center of Kern County and Kern County Aging and Adult Services. The Kern County ADRC is a one-stop shop specializing in services and resources to help individuals lead healthy, independent lives, regardless of age, ability, and income.

Check out https://kern.my-adrc.org/Directory.aspx or call 661-868-1034 for more information.

Tech tips you wish you’d known

  • Do you wish you had great emoji for your emails? You’re not limited to emojis on your phone. For Mac: Press Control+Command+Space to get the emoji menu. For PC: The latest version of Chrome has an emoji menu. Simply right-click anywhere you can type and click "Emoji" at the top of the menu. 
  • Are you always accidentally closing tabs and trying frantically to get the site back? Quickly reopen a closed tab by pressing Command+Shift+T on a Mac or Control+Shift+T on Windows PC. Keep pressing to open all the tabs you've closed recently. It even works after you've entirely closed and reopened your browser. 
  • Has your cat been walking across your keyboard? A few Post-it Notes should remove any remnant cat hair plus dust and dirt. Push the sticky end between the rows of letters and drag it across to give it a quick and easy clean.
  • Does Google always ask you to save passwords? Do you know how to find those passwords? I didn’t. Type this into your browser's address bar: chrome://settings/passwords. You’ll be able to reveal the password for any site to use elsewhere.
That’s it! Thanks for reading. And if you want to chime in with your two cents on what this newsletter should include, email us at Info@LifeExperienced.com

Until next time, 
Erica  
 
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