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Aging & Society

Words of Inspiration from the New Old Age

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In late October, more than 200 men and women from all walks of life came together in New York City for The New Old Age conference.

Presented by The Atlantic and sponsored, in part, by Pfizer’s Get Old, the annual day-long event was a chance for people to share stories about working longer, living longer and finding purpose and fulfillment later in life. The Get Old team was in the audience, learning, listening and finding inspiration on what it means to live a long and healthy life.

Here are just a few of our favorite quotes—paired with a few favorite stories—to “pay” the inspiration forward:

On Aging and Longevity

“Aging begins the moment you’re born. Longevity is about now.”

— Staci Alexander, Director, Thought Leadership, AARP

 “I call exercise the most transformative thing you can do.”

— Wendy Suzuki, Professor of Neural Science and Psychology, New York University

“Just think of the age of all the Nobel laureates. They ain’t 30 years old…. There’s so many great examples of people and the creativity of the mind and the expansion as they age.”

“Because we age, does not mean that we’re done."

— Alicia Georges, National Volunteer President, AARP

“Aging isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. People are going to age in a variety of ways.”

— Vivian Nava-Schellinger, Senior Manager, National Council on Aging

“Right now, there’s a freedom to be older and to be bolder.”

— Jean, Style blogger and Co-founder, @idosyncraticFashionistas Instagram

Want to read more about aging and longevity? Read our stories on “What we can learn from a tribal elder” and “Five things to celebrate in new attitudes towards aging.”  

On Purpose

“The people that live long, they have passion. They have commitment. And they care about people.”

— Alicia Georges, National Volunteer President, AARP

“I am much wiser today at 53 years old than I was at 25. And that is emergence.” 

— Wendy Suzuki, Professor of Neural Science and Psychology, New York University

“There are very simple ways to recognize an older person other than a quick smile before turning the other way.…. Just take a minute and think outside yourself. Don’t look down at your phone when you’re walking down the street or hallway.”

— Beth Shapiro, Executive Director, Citymeals on Wheels

“As senior intern, I learned I still had something to contribute, and a lot more to learn. Those are the basic elements to staying engaged. Contributing and learning. To me, that seems like a pretty good way to live my life from here on out.”

— Paul Critchlow, “Senior Intern” and Blogger, Pfizer’s Get Old  

“If I had to pick one thing that’s the key to happiness, it’s relationships … the things we can do to broaden or deepen our relationships really lead to happiness.”— Gretchen Rubin, Author, The Happiness Project

“Talent is what makes you want to keep doing something for a fairly long time to get good at it.”

— Nell Painter, Author, Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over

Want to read about purpose? Check out Paul Critchlow’s story about becoming an intern at age 70 and this piece on Arthur Keyser, who wrote his first play at age 80.

On Retirement

“Retirement has almost become a dirty word. I don’t think retirement has to mean that you’re disengaged with the world.”

— Jessica Bruder, Author, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

“When people retire, most don’t want to retire from work. They want to retire from the office.”

— Sharon Emek, Founder and CEO, Work At Home Vintage Experts  

“Should anyone in their 70s and 80s retire if they still have something to contribute?”

 — Rich Karlgaard, Publisher and Futurist, Forbes Media

“I think retirement needs a bit of a rebranding, as more of a period of choice, rather than ‘you’re done.’ Because nobody wants to be done.”  

— Vivian Nava-Schellinger, Senior Manager, National Council on Aging

Interested in gaining more insights on retirement? Read our piece on 6 Schedule-Planning Tips for Retirement, From a Retirement Coach and If You’re a Woman Worried about Outliving Your Retirement Savings, This Advice is for You.

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