“As the first wave of the huge boomer generation marches toward retirement, a linguistic question looms large: What should we call those in their middle and later years? Baby boomers? Older people? Senior citizens? Elders?” asks Marilyn Gardner in the Christian Science Monitor.

“That’s the question facing journalists who write about retirement and aging. But the issue goes beyond the language those in the media use. The words we all choose to describe people in midlife and beyond –- ourselves and others –- help to define and shape attitudes about the later years, both positive and negative.”

Go read the rest of the story for the top word choices selected by journalists who cover issues in aging.

Did you know women over 40 are the primary purchasers of flat-screen TVs? The Boston Globe looks at how boomers are redefining the marketplace — and forcing changes in comfort and sophistication.

Michelle Pfeiffer reflects on being back in the limelight. The 49-year-old actress and three-time Oscar nominee stars in the new films “Stardust” and “Hairspray.”

“Teacher-astronaut Barbara Morgan spent her first full day in space Thursday putting into practice the nine years of classes she took as a student at NASA,” reports USA Today. “It’s great being up here,” said the 55-year-old Morgan, a true role model.

As a college French professor, Madame Crosby intimidated freshman student Mary Schmich. As a retiree, Crosby taught Schmich, now a Chicago Tribune columnist, a great deal more about life. Here’s an excerpt from Schmich’s terrific piece:

Her husband had died, her children were grown, and she thought about doing what many of her fellow professors did, which was moving into a retirement complex in the suburban California college town.

She thought about it, and then she moved to Paris.

For the next quarter-century, through her 70s and 80s, she lived in the 6th arrondissement, alone, in tiny but elegant spaces, soaking up life. She went to movies and plays and dinners and art shows, devoured books and newspapers, and entertained the scores of ex-students who paraded through.

She got jaunty haircuts, grew active in American politics abroad and started doing Pilates a decade before it hit the States.

She also wrote. Last year, she published her third novel, “Deadly Secrets,” a mystery about a retired American professor in Paris with a younger Czech lover, Pavel Havel. While doing research for the book, she became chummy with the Paris cops.

It was in her retirement that Madame Crosby turned into Virginia for me, Virginia, my friend and a role model for one good way to get old.

I visited her several times in Paris, marveling that with her as an escort I could walk into some little restaurant on the Rue des Canettes and instead of being told it was full have the owner cry, “Ah, Virginie!” and give us a corner table.

Just by being who she is, she has helped me and many others imagine the last lap of life as a time of creativity and engagement.


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