Gero-Punk Ponderings

Several times today I’ve commenced a new gero-punk essay only to abandon each attempt. (Perhaps I should have saved each of the fragments for future use. Oh, well.)

When I (may) have something to write about my body announces it—the notion starts in my gut or chest, where it feels warm, then intensifies in the vicinity of my heart, where it begins its low-level vibration, and then somehow makes its way up my spine and into my brain, until the point at which energy has built up so intensely that my brain can’t contain it and it bursts into what I’ve come to refer to as my mind, which suffuses my entire body and even escapes my body’s edges (Hey, promise sometime soon we can have a discussion about how the brain/mind/and consciousness are interconnected and nested but different phenomena.).

But today, perhaps because I have a lot of projects and responsibilities competing in my mind for space right now (and probably because I am getting, as one of my colleagues admitted today, “an ass kicking” because of all of the end-of-term work that’s piling up) each notion that has announced itself as potentially worthy of being written about has gotten stuck somewhere between my chest or heart and the spinal-chord pathway into my mind (and beyond).

Here are some of the notions that haven’t yet come to fuller fruition:

  • Gero-punk echoes: I sometimes see my Gramma’s hands when I look at my own hands. I sometimes hear my mommy’s laughter when I hear myself laugh. I sometimes glimpse my father’s countenance when I view my own face from a certain angle. I sometimes witness my daughter embody my gestures. Likewise, I sometimes feel myself embody my daughter’s gestures.
  • Gero-punk serendipity: There are opportunities I thought I wanted, that I did want, but that I didn’t get (and that I was pretty crushed about not getting.). Upon reflection, tracing the steps in my journey from there to here, I understand that the not-getting meant that I was able to create or accept new and largely unforeseen opportunities, opportunities which I now understand to be better aligned with my gero-punk purpose (see below).
  • Gero-punk purpose: What elements of my life now and as I travel into the future are negotiable, non-negotiable, or undecided?  In other words, what situations and conditions must I have in my life, which situations and conditions can I live without, and which situations and conditions can I absolutely not live with, won’t live with?  What are the true causes and conditions of meaning in my life?  What are the indicators that I am living my precious human life meaningfully?
  • Gero-punk service: What does the world and its creatures need and how can I best be of use?  And what do I need in order to best serve the world and its creatures?

Once some mind-space clears, I’ll see what’s what and what might happen next with all of this and the other stuff that’s bound to emerge, too.  I may also discover that this – what I’ve written here – doesn’t need to be anything beyond what it already is.

How’s it going for all of you out there? What notions have been chasing you, trying to capture your attention? What new insights are making their winding travels from wherever it is they originate into your gorgeous minds (and beyond!)?


About Jenny Sasser, Ph.D.

I am a freelance educational gerontologist, writer, community activist and facilitator. I am former Chair of the Department of Human Sciences and Director of Gerontology at Marylhurst University. I joined the faculty as an adjunct member of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program in 1997 and since that time, I've been involved in designing many on-campus and web-based courses and programs for adult learners, including in Gerontology. As an undergraduate I attended Willamette University, graduating Cum Laude in Psychology and Music; my interdisciplinary graduate studies at University of Oregon and Oregon State University focused on the Human Sciences, with specialization areas in adult development and aging, women’s studies, and critical social theory and alternative research methodologies. My dissertation became part of a book published in 1996 and co-authored with Dr. Janet Lee--Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society. Over the past twenty (or more!) years I have been involved in inquiry in the areas of creativity in later life; older women's embodiment; sexuality and aging; critical Gerontological theory; transformational adult learning practices; and inter-generational friendships and cross-generational collaborative inquiry. I am co-author, with Dr. Harry R. Moody of Aging: Concepts and Controversies (now in its 10th edition!) and first author, also with Moody, of the recently published Gerontology: The Basics, as well as author/co-author of several book chapters, articles and essays. I am on the Portland Community College Gerontology Program faculty.
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