Yesterday saw John & I headed to NYC for the 2nd time in two days! Wednesday was a members-only reception & meeting of the Radical Age Movement, which co-sponsored Thursday’s event – – a reception at Senior Planet paired with a viewing of Ashton Applewhite’s remarkable TED talk, then a q&a featuring Ashton & Susan Fisher, founder of the Radical Age Movement.
Unlike Wednesday, when I completely bobbled getting to the Hamilton NJ train station from our Phila suburbs home, we had some spare time to check out the magazines at the lobby shop, hoping to nab the current issue of Philadelphia magazine (cover story is the trashing of civility). YES! They had it! Oh… Look – TIME’s cover story is Firsts: Women Who Are Changing The World. Bagged both of them, thinking, “Thar’s blog gold in them thar mags.”
While John checked out Philadelphia, I perused Time. The importance of the cover photo didn’t hit me right off the bat, other than it was a vibrant woman in a wet suit looking happy to be near a crashing wave. Checking out the featured article in my somewhat perverse style (back to front), turned down the corners of possible fodder for posting – among them Alice Waters, Rita Moreno, Rachel Maddow, Maya Lin, Mo’en Davis.
Mo’ed – a Philly gal, just brushing 16 years old – had an entire right page all to her self! Opposite from her, taking the entire left page, was the woman featured on the cover: Sylvia Earle.
Now that I’ve set up the scenario, let me take you to the Senior Planet reception & event. I was super psyched about the evening in part because it was John’s first substantial elder evolution event & he’d finally get to meet Ashton, in part because it would be wonderful hearing Ashton’s TED talk with her in attendance, in part because we looked forward to her q&a with Alice Fisher, whom we’d met & talked to the night before.
For me, it was extra exciting, because it was held at & co-sponsored by Senior Planet. I didn’t know a lot of about the Radical Age Movement, in spite of being a member for over a year (no Phila chapter – yet), but Senior Planet is a site I’ve used for some time. I was hoping to have an opportunity to meet Barbara Aria, who does its website, & possibility have a chance to thank Thomas Kamber for such a valuable resource.
Well, not only did I meet Barbara, we talked & she pointed me toward techboomers.com for help beefing up my online skills. As for Thomas Kamber, well…
Ashton & Alice presented a lively q&a from the multi-age throng. I was the 2nd to last person to make a comment or raise a question.
Because I was sitting at the front – the better to see & hear Ashton – I rose to face the room, opening with, “As Ashton can tell you, I tend to be a cheerleader for the Now, for accomplishments we can celebrate & on which we can build.”
Holding up the copy of Time, I urged the crowd of people, “Buy the current Time! Share it with everyone you know! The issue is about women of accomplishment, and much more.”
Showing off the cover, I announced, “The editors chose a 82-year old for their cover subject. Not someone people would look at & recognize as Oprah Winfrey or Serena Williams, Danica Patrick or Selena Gomez – Sylvia Earle, the first woman named to chief scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association.”
Big smiles spread throughout the group. I then flipped to the article about Dr. Earle.
“John & I encourage expansive, wholehearted living across the age spectrum, so I was especially pleased to see the editors had Sylvia Earle, born 1935, facing Mo’en Davis, born 2001. They were thinking – positively, constructively – within a wholesome context of age. Way to go!”
At that, a few people went past smiles to some shared high 5s & hand shakes. Ah, but I’d saved the best, most telling “we are making a difference” for last.
“If you open the magazine, a Rolex ad** is splashed across both the inside cover & the first page. The featured subject of this mega pricey ad – SYLVIA EARLE!”
With that, the place erupted with celebration. When modern-day Mad Men start recognizing the marketing value of older people, THAT is indisputable proof of progress!
As I sat down, Tom Kamber strode over & whipped the magazine out of my hands. Yes, there it was – the cover, the inside feature, the big bucks ad. Of course, we gave it to him. (Hey, he’d sponsored the event – it was the least we could do!)
To everyone who has put her or his shoulder to the wheel of fighting ageism, of being part of the eldercare (r)evolution, in shaking up our nation’s woeful culture around aging – – Way to go!! Seeing indisputable proof of progress is SWEET!
** for superb coverage on Sylvia Earle (& some terrific photos), check out, “Every Rolex has a story.” Here’s the story, as they tell it, about SYLVIA EARLE:
For over 50 years, Dr. Sylvia Earle has dedicated her life to exploring and preserving the oceans. She holds the depth record for untethered dives, helped develop the Deep Rover submersible and has authored over 200 publications. Now, with her Mission Blue project, the first female National Geographic Explorer- in-Residence is helping identify, highlight and protect the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. Rolex is proud of its long-term relationship with a true pioneer, as she continues her inspiring quest to make a difference.
Internationally renowned marine biologist Sylvia Earle has been a pioneer of ocean exploration for more than four decades. She is a committed advocate of the oceans and their vulnerable ecosystems, and her global initiative, Mission Blue, has ignited public support to safeguard marine Hope Spots. Time, she explains, is a measure of life and a reminder that each individual can make a difference. The Rolex watch she wears is not only a trusted timepiece on expeditions, but carries deeper meaning.
In my early years as a scientist — diving, using submarines, living underwater, exploring the ocean, the joy of personal discovery was a large motivator. But now I am increasingly driven to not only explore myself but to try to get others to explore. The more people can be engaged personally to actually get in the ocean, to see for themselves how beautiful it is, how vulnerable the ocean is, how much we’re changing the ocean, I think that gives us a better chance as a species to survive.
Every day, time is a measure of life. We have to be mindful of just the miracle of being alive and knowing that you have a chance in the time that you have to make a difference — why not make it a good difference.
Most watches are looked upon as jewellery or — for us explorers — as an equipment to tell the time, but my watch to me has a much deeper meaning. The concept of Rolex is supporting exploration, conservation, the arts and the best that humans can be. So for me, wearing it, it’s like a signature, you care about those things too, you share something with the ethic of caring.
I was inspired to acquire my watch, this very special ally in exploration, when I was diving with my best friend in the Florida Keys at the beginning of the 1980s. She was wearing this watch and when I saw it I looked at it and I pointed to it and shook her arm. I thought she had forgotten to take off her watch, but she just gave me this smile. Only then I saw that it was a Rolex and it was quite capable of diving, not just as deep as we were at the time, but it could go much deeper. And yet it could go to black tie parties, it could go out in the rain, it could go in the shower, it could become — as it has become for me, when I got the same one soon after — just an extension of me, something I would wear all the time, everywhere. It’s like having that sixth sense right there on your arm, as your guide.
The watch has been my companion now for many decades. It has been on expeditions around the world — to the Arctic and the Antarctic, to the Indian and the Atlantic Ocean, deep within the Pacific and aboard probably more than thirty submarines. It’s been with me to speak in front of the United Nations and to meet with people who have great influence — Presidents of the United States, members of congress, heads of state around the world.
But do you know the most important time? It’s probably out there, somewhere in the future. As long as I’m breathing, I expect to be exploring. People ask me: “Do you still dive?” And my answer is: “I am still breathing.”