Gero-Punk Anniversary Celebration: We’ve Gone Global!

This Thursday will be the two year anniversary of the Gero-Punk Project! Hooray!

Over the past twelve months I’ve published 50 Gero-Punk essays of various sorts, for a total of 116 essays published since the birth of this project. These essays have been written by me and by several guest essayists, including my best friend, many dear current and former students and colleagues, not to mention new comrades of all life-course stages and ages.  What’s really cool is that several of the guest essayists are new to gerontology, not to mention new to the Gero-Punk ethos of being present to our experiences of age, aging and the times, places and spaces in and through which we travel through the life-course.

And — guess what?!?!?: The Gero-Punk Project now has readers who live in 80 different countries and on all continents on the planet earth except for Antarctica! (If any of you have any friends living in Antarctica, will you turn them on to the Project? Thanks!)

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On this auspicious occasion, please accept my gratitude for supporting the Gerontological anarchy, exploration, and play that we’ve been engaging in together in the Gero-Punk Project! And please accept my invitation to participate in the Gero-Punk Project by submitting an essay about your own experiences traveling through the life-course, wherever you may find yourself in time, place and space (Where do you find yourself? I’ll put a gold star on my map if you let me know. You can reach me at jsasser@marylhurst.edu)

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Perhaps you need to know a bit more about what’s what before you will feel willing to venture further.  That’s understandable.

The Gero-Punk Project provides a venue for sharing stories about our travels through the life-course. Together we create a space for trying out alternative ways of experiencing and writing about age and aging in particular times, spaces and places, and about the complexities of being human beings.

We take seriously the idea that we are time-travelers: simultaneously a particular age, all ages, and no age at all.

We give voice to our flummoxing, fascinating, mundane and profound, odd and perhaps transgressive thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to this grand and strange adventure of being and becoming human in and through and outside of time.

We legitimize confusion, uncertainty, and vulnerability, states of no-sense.

As well, we harness our inner authority, our sovereignty, our growing expertise about our own inside experiences and our curiosity about the inside experiences of others.

We ask questions such as:

Where does age reside?

What does it feel like to be the embodied creatures we are right now in this present moment? (And what might it feel like to be a differently embodied creature?)

What assumptions are we holding about what a particular age should be like, or look like, and where did these assumptions come from? (And are we served well by these assumptions or do we want to blow them up and create new ways of thinking and being?)

How might our confusions, mishaps and missteps as we muddle through this life be sources of learning and wisdom, for ourselves and, by sharing them, for others?

And for those of us who are formally engaged in the work of gerontology, we ask to what extent do we see our aging experiences reflected in the official Gerontological theory, research, and practice? And to what extent are our aging experiences and our capacities to support others with their aging experiences informed by Gerontological theory and research? What are the connections and disconnections? What is missing and what might we add? What new questions might we ask?

As well, we ask: What capacities for self-care and intentional aging do we want to develop so that we can live vibrant and purposeful lives, no matter what challenges we might face as we continue our travels through the life-course?

Also this: What are the ways in which we might be of service to others, to the larger community, and to the world that allow us to enact our deepest longings and commitments,  to help us grow in all directions as human beings as we continue to ripen?

And perhaps most important of all, we ask: If we had play-dates with our 8 year old selves, what would we do? If we invited our future older selves over for a glass of wine, what would we talk about?

This is by no means an exhaustive list. But it is a good start.

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map 1

How are things where you are in Mexico, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Brazil, Ireland and Egypt?

How would you describe the dominant cultural attitudes towards aging and later life in Iceland, Armenia, Syria, Tunisia, Thailand, Argentina?

Wherever you are located in time, place or space — Denmark, Pakistan, Malaysia, Kenya, Columbia, Israel, Peru, Mongolia, Fiji, Nigeria, or somewhere else — what’s your experience of traveling through the life-course?

Will you join us?

About Jenny Sasser, Ph.D.

I am a freelance educational gerontologist, writer, community activist and facilitator. As of 12/21/15, 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 fifteen 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 cross-generational collaborative inquiry. I am co-author, with Dr. Harry R. Moody of Aging: Concepts and Controversies (8th edition). I live in Portland, Oregon with my dog Happy. My daughter Isobel is a Sophomore at Bard College in New York state. I have been on the planet 49 years.
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2 Responses to Gero-Punk Anniversary Celebration: We’ve Gone Global!

  1. Erica Wells says:

    Cheers to making the 2-year milestone. Here’s to many more years of gero-punking together!
    xo erica

  2. helenfern says:

    You go Jenny!! This is really exciting!!

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