My mother sent me a package and decided to include her copy of AARP: The Magazine because Michelle Obama was on the cover. I’m so happy to have this magazine because of the terrific articles. “Partners in Time” was among my favorite. In it, Michael Downs reflects on his life as the younger half of a married couple. Towards the conclusion of the article he reveals his outlook on the future: “I still look forward to growing old, to exploring mysteries to come.” Ah, finally, an expression in this culture of wanting to be something other than sexy. Sexiness has seemingly become the overriding ambition of maturity. Sexiness serves as the frame for being self-confident, assertive, bold, and daring.

Being self-confident does not require nudity, however. Having confidence in your ability to provide for your family can be done fully clothed. So can taking the time to listen to others with deep caring and concern. As I grow old I want to be better able to sit still and better understand my feelings of restlessness. As it stands, restlessness can paralyze me at times. In those moments, I don’t always know how to direct my energies…but it’s never towards some notion of sexiness. What is this ambition about in American culture? There are “other models by which to live.”

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