» Featured, How We Love Now


By Suzanne Braun Levine

This has been quite a month!

First of all, I finally held in my hands a copy of my new book How We Love Now; it has been eighteen months since I finished it, and at last it is real. The scary part is that it will soon be in the hands of actual readers, and while I am anxious to hear if it resonates with other women, I am less anxious to hear if it doesn’t, which will undoubtedly happen.

More good news in connection with the book is that I have been invited to speak about it by several of The Transition Network (TTN) chapters around the country starting in San Francisco (where my talk is also sponsored by Civic Ventures and Coming of Age: Bay Area). When I began writing about Second Adulthood just after the turn of the century (I love the sound of that!), one of my first stops was a TTN meeting. The organization was just getting started, and the energy and vision of its founders, Charlotte Frank and Christine Millen contributed greatly to my understanding of what was going on with women. Under the current Executive Director Betsy Werley, TTN has gone national. There are now fourteen chapters and I look forward to meeting members all over the country.

Another big deal this month was an invitation to speak at TEDxWomen, as part of a conversation entitled “Rebirth” which was livestreamed to a hundred locations around the world and to millions over the Internet. Jane Fonda, whose wonderful new book is called PRIME TIME: Making the Most of All of Your Life, put together the panel which included: Laura Carstensen, founder of the Stanford Center on Longevity, who reported on her studies of happiness and aging. She has found that people (both men and women) in their fifties and sixties are much happier overall than people in their thirties and forties. I certainly am.

I talked about The Fertile Void and got great feedback, including a mention from Rosie O’Donnell (who – true to form – liked that I described the prelude to the Fertile Void as “the fuck-you fifties”) in an interview on Huffington Post, where, coincidentally, I am now blogging regularly.

I also spent a few days in San Francisco at the Civic Ventures Summit, where the Encore Movement really established roots among the many activists for positive aging who were there. Founder Marc Freedman is dedicated to using the organization to galvanize activists to work toward changing societal assumptions and individual experiences of work and life after fifty. We were all inspired by the five winners of the Purpose Prize – for social entrepreneurs over 50 – who told their stories.

And Ms. – my true alma mater – turns 40 in 2012, and is still going strong under the ownership of the Feminist Majority Foundation. The seventeen years I spent there truly changed my life; for one thing, it was there that I began to explore – personally and professionally – the issues that still matter to the women I write about. Stanford University is sponsoring a panel discussion about the magazine, where I will join the current editor Katherine Spillar, feminist bloggers, and former editors on January 26 to reminisce and look forward.

The spirit of Ms. lives on in our lives, in the magazine itself, and – in my opinion – in the Occupy Movement, which has taken over the country. Check out the amazing (though long) video, narrated by a song about democracy written and performed by Leonard Cohen.

Here’s to a great year for all of us – and democracy too!

**For Information on Events and Interviews – Click on the NEWS!

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