This “Skeptic’s” column tackles a subject that is both delicate and volatile: suicide. People who have known me for a fairly long time are well acquainted with a time in my life – during the time in Boston at Harvard and later at Seattle University during the equally ill-advised quest for the MDiv -- when I was undergoing episodes of very severe, quite arguably pre-suicidal, clinical depression. So – for the benefit of those people, for “my mariners, souls that have toiled and wrought and thought with me” – I want to emphasize that the following column does not describe me as I am now. Quite the contrary. I am not in crisis. I am not depressed. I am not afflicted with suicidal ideation – a term I came to know all too intimately during the “winter of [my] discontent”. So those of you
The latest (3 January) issue of Forbes references a Washington Post op-ed by Prof. Laura L. Carstensen, professor of psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. professor in public policy at Stanford University, on the semiotics of aging started me reflecting about what I want to be called, and what I do not want to be called, now that I am pushing 70. (I will be 69 in April of 2018.) Words matter. And – over time measured in multiple years – certain words / terms have become increasingly patronizing because I have, over that same interval of time, come to think of myself more and more, not as middle-aged, but simply as old. Prof. Carstensen is right: By failing to identify with “old,” the story about old people remains a dreary one about loss and decline. Language matters: We need a
There are two videos included here. If you are reading this post from an email subscription, it's likely that you'll have to link through to the site to view the videos. They're both worth the time and effort.
I originally encountered The Spoon Theory when a dear friend with MS sent me it in the form of a feature article. Subsequently I found it posted in video format on Us Verses Lupus, whose post was reblogged by Kim at silentlyheardonce. Thank you, ladies!
The Spoon Theory is a clear and vivid way of explaining what it is like to live with any chronic, catastrophic and potentially life-threatening illness. I suspect that it is also explains what life is like for those who have lived long enough to be described as "elderly."
The first step in living successfully with catas