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January 4, 2022

 

Hi there, 

 
It almost didn’t happen due to the COVID-19 upsurge, but I’m happy to report that a few women showed up for the yearly Christmas luncheon of my Jewish women’s discussion group. We met outdoors and, sticking to tradition, ate Chinese food. Since my birthday is on Christmas, I brought an expensive birthday cake from a local French bakery.

Two members were on the keto diet and refused to even try it. I tried to be gracious but seethed inwardly. There were hardly enough of us to make a dent in that cake even if everyone had taken a big slice.

Is there ever a time when women stop dieting? Do they plan to still turn down cake when they’re 80, 90, 100? My take on diets is that they always trigger an equal and opposite binge. I’d rather eat everything—including cake—in moderation.

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

TV series that speak to our generation

As a TV and movie fan, I am continually frustrated by the lack of entertainment for people my age. I admit that a lot of teen and young adult dramas and comedies are worthwhile. I just have no interest in watching nude scenes with toned young bodies. Where are the shows with beautiful older people making romantic connections?

Luckily, streaming TV—unlike the movie industry, which relies on blockbusters—has some rewarding viewing for the over-60 demographic. Here are my favorites from last year. Most are still streaming, so you can catch them in 2022. (Note: I did not include Grace and Frankie, a groundbreaking series about aging with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, because the most recent season was not up to the quality of earlier seasons. But DO watch early seasons if you haven’t seen the show.)

  • Succession, Season 3. Brian Cox, 75, plays Logan Roy, the paterfamilias of a media empire and father from hell: firmly in control, playing his children off against each other as he tries to destroy just about everyone in his orbit. Despite almost dying of a stroke, he doesn’t change, preferring to be feared than loved. We’re not used to seeing unrepentantly ruthless old people on TV, unless they’re in horror shows, which makes his character a standout on this consistently brilliant show. Watch on HBO Max.
  • The Good Fight, Season 5. This binge-worthy series is in its fifth season starring Christine Baranski, 69, as a white lawyer in a Black law firm. The show’s witty, topical humor is literally ripped from the headlines. My wish to see some later-life love was fulfilled by the sexy romance between Baranski’s character and handsome 65-year-old Gary Cole’s character. And I got a big kick out of a wacky side plot this season about a self-styled judge played by Mandy Patinkin, also 69, who runs his own courtroom in the back of a copy shop. Watch on Paramount+.
  • The Chair. Sandra Oh’s character, the first woman of color appointed to head the English department at a prestigious university, has to navigate the perils of cancel culture and the expectations of an aging faculty. Both poignant and funny, the show features great supporting performances from older actors, including Bob Balaban and Ron Crawford, both 76, as the old guard who refuse to accept the new order, and Holland Taylor, 78, as a potty-mouthed medieval studies professor who doesn’t want to retire. Watch on Netflix.
  • Impeachment: American Crime Story. A tragic and riveting exploration of what really happened between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, with an emphasis on her relationship with the treacherous Linda Tripp. Told from the point of view of Lewinsky, who is a producer on the show, it explores how vulnerable Lewinsky was and how public shaming destroyed her life while Bill Clinton went on to another term. Few people saw this series, probably because they couldn’t find it. It was originally only on cable from FX, but is now on Amazon Prime Video for $14.99. It’s worth the price. Or you can wait until it gets to Netflix, which is supposed to happen sometime this year. 
  • Hacks. In the wittiest, most incisive character study on streaming television, Jean Smart, 70, plays an aging Joan Rivers-type comedian who has been playing Vegas forever and is in danger of losing her gig if she doesn’t come up with trendier material. Her agent pairs her with an unemployed, self-destructive twentysomething comedy writer who lost her job due to a politically incorrect tweet. They form a reluctant partnership which turns out to be comedy genius. Watch on HBO Max.
  • The Kominsky Method, Season 3. The final season of this quirky show stars Michael Douglas as an acting teacher who hasn’t acted in decades. Douglas’s character philosophizes, harangues, and talks over the heads of his class of young acting students who are much more interested in finding an agent than learning how to act. The legendary Kathleen Turner, 67, with her signature gravelly voice, is a standout this season in a guest spot as Douglas’s ex wife. Don’t miss the first two seasons to catch Alan Arkin playing Douglas’s grouchy best friend. Watch on Netflix.

Featured event

English-Spanish language exchange

Tuesday, January 11, 2022
2:30-4:00 p.m. EST (other dates available)

Practice your Spanish language skills, meet others, and have fun on this Zoom call. Check out the option to join the WhatsApp group to meet people, practice Spanish outside of the online language exchanges, and find out the latest events. 
 

RSVP

What's in the news

Like just about everyone who had ever seen her mischievous grin on a TV show, I was saddened by Betty White’s passing at age 99. I wish she’d made it to 100, but like other “super-agers,” she was a role model, acting and living to the fullest to the very end. I first became a fan when she cracked me up as man-crazy Sue Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. She might have attributed her longevity to her “positivity,” but I attribute it to her refusal to take herself seriously. Anyone who can claim her greatest achievement in her 90s is “not falling asleep on the toilet” knows how to lighten the angst of getting old. RIP, Betty. Your memory is a blessing to us all.

Special event replay
Did you miss Crafty Chica Kathy Cano-Murillo's reverse glass painting class in partnership with Life Experienced in December? It's not too late to complete the craft by watching the replay on Facebook.

Partner spotlight

The Academy for Lifelong Learning is an athletic club for your mind. The Academy rewards your curiosity, deepens your knowledge, enhances your understanding, and enriches your life as you meet and learn with individuals who share your love of learning. Participants can choose from over 40 daytime courses—with lectures, discussions, or hands-on options—during each of two 10-week terms. Course leaders and participants are stimulating and knowledgeable, and friendships develop quickly. Learn more and sign up at AcademyLL.org.

Become a partner

Does your organization reach a community of older adults? Get in touch with us for information on amplifying your events and activities on the platform and expanding the Life Experienced service to your network. There is no cost to partnering. Get in touch with us here: https://lifeexperienced.com/become-a-partner.

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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