Frequently Asked Questions:

It’s Oldster Magazine’s fourth year in a row as a featured publication on Substack!

What is Oldster Magazine?

Oldster Magazine explores what it means to travel through time in a human body—of any gender, at every phase of life. It focuses on the good, the bad, and the ugly we experience with each milestone, starting early in life. It’s about the experience of getting older, and what that means at different junctures.

Regardless of age, we’re all the oldest we’ve ever been, which makes every one of us feel, well, old.

Remember when you were about to turn 20, and it was a big, scary deal? Or 30? Or 40? Remember when you were in your 20s or 30s and you thought people in their 40s were absolutely ancient? Remember the first time you realized that moving into a new phase of life—graduating, getting married, becoming a parent, getting a major promotion, retiring—meant that you would be leaving behind another phase of life? That’s what Oldster Magazine explores.

A more serious part of the Oldster Magazine mission is de-stigmatizing and normalizing aging by demonstrating that’s it’s happening to everyone, of all ages, all the time. And fostering intergenerational conversation, so we can all learn from one another.

Who is behind this?

Oldster Magazine is the brainchild of 50-something editor-in-chief, Sari Botton, a bestselling writer, editor, and teacher living in Kingston, NY. This year she published her debut memoir, And You May Find Yourself: Confessions of a Late-Blooming Gen-X Weirdo. She is probably best known for editing Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving & Leaving NY, and for the five years she worked as the essays editor for Longreads. (She is writing this text right now, even though it appears in the third person.) How often will I receive a new issue?

Oldster will appear in your email inbox at least twice a week, but most weeks, it’s more like three or four times, and sometimes even five. I did not set out to publish a daily publication—and it is a lot of work, and I am doing this all by myself—but I am really enjoying this work and it might be the only thing keeping me vaguely sane through this crazy time in the world.

If you can’t find it and you have gmail, check your “promotions” folder.

What’s up with the name?

The overwhelming majority of subscribers *get* that I am using the term “oldster,” an old-timey borderline slur, subversively. They realize it’s tongue-in-cheek, and like it a lot. I hope the handful of readers who don’t *get* it will eventually catch on.

Who qualifies as an “oldster”?

Everyone. You read that right: everyone qualifies as an oldster. Oldster Magazine is NOT about old people. Well, not exclusively about old people. (And who decides at what age “old” begins, anyway?) It’s about all people, who are having the experience of getting older. And who are the oldest they’ve ever been. (Aka…everyone.)

“You call a person who is (28, 30, 47, 67, 71…) and oldster?! Gimme a break!”

Sometimes the eldest of the oldsters get mad at me for featuring contributors who are younger than they are. But I said what I said: Oldster Magazine is about the experience of aging, which everyone who is alive is experiencing. Everyone is an oldster to people who are younger, and a youngster to people who are older. Oldsterism is all relative.

Again, part of the Oldster Magazine mission is both de-stigmatizing and normalizing aging by demonstrating that’s it’s happening to everyone, of all ages, all the time.

Why should I become a paid subscriber?

I rely on paid subscriptions in order to pay contributors, and myself. If you aren’t already a paying subscriber, please consider becoming one. Not only will you help me pay others, you’ll help me build this to a place where I can do more ambitious and better and things with it. I’d love for it to be my actual job. Right now, I juggle this with a bunch of other gigs, and barely get by.

As a paying subscriber, will I have exclusive access to paywalled content?

Yes, paying subscribers will have access to all paywalled content. There will be more paywalled content going forward, but there will also still be plenty of free content.

I want to write for Oldster Magazine, but I haven’t seen instructions for how to submit.

UPDATE: Submissions are currently PAUSED. I have more submissions than I can keep up with at the moment, and more accepted pieces than I can publish quickly. Going forward, there will be limited submission periods, which I will announce here. Thank you for your understanding.

It’s with a bit of trepidation that I tell you how to submit to Oldster Magazine. (When I was an editor at Longreads, I received 50-100 submissions per week!)

Here are the categories you can submit to, and the pay rates associated with each:

  1. Personal essays of up to 1500 words. (Okay, sometimes up to 2000 words.) ($100) I’m interested in considering completed essays on spec as opposed to assigning from pitches. When I assign essays from pitches, they rarely turn out to match the pitch. I also don’t have the resources or bandwidth to do heavy developmental editing.

  2. Questionnaires. ($50)

  3. Letter to My Younger Self, up to 1500 words. ($100)

  4. Scattered Pictures (500-750 words telling the story of an old photo. $25)

  5. Interviews up to 2000 words. ($100)

Email me at and write “Oldster submission” in the subject line, because I also receive pitches at that email address for other things I edit and teach.

Bear in mind that I already receive more submissions than I can quickly respond to or have slots for. It might take me a while to respond to your submission, and if I accept it, it still might take me a while to publish it. I am doing all of this myself. It’s a lot of work, and I have other jobs, too.

How much do you pay contributors?

See above.

There’s an awful lot of professional writers featured. Why is that?

Writers are generally who you hire to write for magazines. They (myself included) have been honing their craft for years, sometimes decades, and I’m fortunate that so many of them are willing to contribute here, despite my limited budget.

That said, I do hope to eventually include more interviews and podcasts episodes with “regular people,” and to add shorter blog post formats so that more non-writers can easily contribute.

You also feature an awful lot of Gen X-ers.

Well…I happen to be Gen X myself, and I’m acquainted with a lot of peers. Also, Generation X as a demographic is going through some interesting age-related changes right now and I’m curious about how others are handling them. We were latch-key kids who grew up too fast, then swung the other way and got stuck in protracted adolescence, which makes the “adulting” milestones in our forties and fifties feel really, really weird.

I will note, however, that I am working on making sure other age groups are also sufficiently represented.

How can I get one of those Oldster tee shirts I’ve seen Sari wear in photos?

You can order Oldster Magazine Merchandise—tee shirts and mugs—from my Etsy Store.

Order Oldster Magazine merch

Read more about my mission in the interview Substack conducted with me:

What To Read: Sari Botton is aging gracefully
This week, we interviewed Sari Botton, who writes Oldster Magazine, a publication that reflects on age and aging at every stage of life. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. What’s your Substack about in one sentence? Oldster Magazine explores what it means to travel through time in a human body, at every phase of life…
Read more

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Exploring what it means to travel through time in a human body, at every phase of life.


Sari Botton is the author of the memoir "And You May Find Yourself." She edited two bestselling anthologies: "Goodbye to All That" and "Never Can Say Goodbye." She publishes Oldster Magazine, Memoir Monday, and Adventures in Journalism.
Exploring what it means to travel through time in a human body, at every phase of life. Edited by Sari Botton.