What does getting old look like? It’s a lot different these days. We may have silver hair, but we can all be Golden Girls.
Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia – the Golden Girls – 4 women growing old together and shattering all of our preconceptions about age and women. These Golden Girls were the first look many of us had at the lives of women as they aged. They didn’t sit around and crochet doilies – they continued to work and were active in their communities. They didn’t spend nights alone in their rocking chairs – they continued to be social, they continued to date – and yes, they even continued to have sex.
Here was a myth-shattering view of senior citizens, of older women. These four women found ways to get old but continue to act young. They were healthy, they were hopeful, and they were a heck of a lot of fun! Dorothy, larger than life, showed us it was okay to be strong, intelligent and independent, while still living with her 80-year-old mother. Sophia, her mother, was a wise-cracking, spitfire of a senior who found humor in everything and finally had stopped caring what other people thought. Rose, the maiden, remained the innocent and naïve farm girl, who really had her own sense of what was important in life and love and family. And Blanche – how we loved Blanche as she made us feel good about sex. Blanche was the vamp, the femme fatale, the archetype of the seductress – on the outside. And vulnerable like most of us on the inside.
We can take a cue from these four women. We don’t have to spend the “twilight years” of life alone. We have options. We can take up golf and live with other active seniors in a community in Arizona or Florida. We can run off and be an expatriate in a beautiful colonial town in Mexico. We can join forces and live together in co-housing communities like the Golden Girl Homes – http://www.goldengirlhomes.us/Home.asp – based on the concept of intentional communities and communes of our youth. Like Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia – when we get old we can all live together and sit around the kitchen table at night and eat cheesecake and ice cream every night – yippee!!
For advice on how to look young as you get older, see previous post – F is for Fabulous Forties, Fantastic Fifties and still going strong at Sixty.
Back in the 60s, collective living became very popular for the counterculture hippies. “The Farm” was a typical example of the “Hippie Spirit” – a place where people could live a different lifestyle in an alternative community, with focus on organic living, vegetarian cooking, home birthing,sustainable living and building, peace activism and global out reach. Young long-hairs trekked to India to live with Osho in Pune, or stayed in the US in other types of ashrams, or moved to Israel to live in kibbutzim. Teepees were homes, and music was played, while children were birthed and homeschooled on communal farms.
It’s not quite like that anymore in the 21st century (although such places certainly do still exist all over the world). Today’s “communes” are intentional communities which include ecovillages, cohousing developments, urban housing collectives, residential land trusts, cooperative student housing, and other projects where people strive together with a common vision. There are even intentional communities for Healthy Senior Women called “Golden Girl Housing” – see previous post G is for Golden Girl Housing – Great Concept.
People have learned from the 60s commune prototype that living together is a way to share resources, learn better ecological skills, take care of each other, forge political alliances, save money, grow naturally healthy and organic food. This may not be your Mamas’ (and the Papas) Woodstock-era commune, but it is Intentionally good for your natural health. To learn more, check out the website for International Intentional Communities – www.ic.org.
Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia – all in one house, leaning on each other, helping each other in times of need, laughing together in times of fun.
These four women changed our concept of what senior living might look like. We now know, in these economic times, that not everyone is going to move into a golf retirement community in Boca Raton or Scottsdale. Not everyone is able to move to an expatriate community in Mexico or Belize. Not everyone has the means to make it on her own when she retires or semi-retires or just gets older.
Taking its cue from the TV sitcom, Golden Girls, a new organization was formed – http://www.goldengirlhomes.us/Home.asp. According to their website – “Golden Girl Homes was established as a nonprofit organization in 2001 to gather women to explore and develop creative options for living together in communities. We provide information and assistance to women interested in learning how to spend less of their income on housing related expenses by sharing housing with other women and we provide opportunities for women to network with one another.” The Golden Girls Housing network hosts events that explain different living situations, the network makes space available for advertising for roommates, and it provides a support network for healthy senior women.
Now like Dorothy and Sophia and Blanche and Rose, we healthy senior women have more options. We don’t have to live alone and eat cat food. We can live with a group of girls and eat ice cream and cheesecake every night at the kitchen table!