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It's Oldster Magazine's first birthday!


A year ago today I awoke from a dream in which I’d started a digital magazine called “Oldster,” promptly made a joke about it on social media, then realized it was actually a good idea. And so a few hours later I…launched a digital magazine called Oldster, which explores what it means to travel through time in a human body at every phase of life.

(For the uninitiated: Oldster is not AARP. It is not just about old people. It is about the milestones small and large that we all pass through from birth to death, and examining what they mean to us. It’s also about normalizing and de-stigmatizing aging by showing that it’s something we are all experiencing, all the time, and including everyone in the conversation.)

Now, here I am a year later celebrating that magazine’s first birthday, with *7325 subscribers. Thank you, subscribers, one and all! (*Only a fraction are paid subscribers, full disclosure.)

It’s been an incredible year. While editing and publishing and contributing to my own magazine all adds up to a lot of work, this is one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve ever held.

For the past twelve months, I’ve had the great fortune of publishing many Oldster Questionnaires and essays and other types of content (there’s even a song by Ann Klein and Mary Lee Kortes). It’s all come from a diverse range of contributors, in just about every age group—some very well-known, like Neko Case, Deesha Philyaw, and Lucy Sante, many others less well-known, some just regular folks—all making interesting, relatable observations about what it means to embark on new life phases.

So many people have been willing to indulge my fascination with this subject! It’s been incredibly validating to learn that others are also trying to make sense of aging at every phase of life while questioning—or out right rejecting—old scripts regarding how it’s all “supposed to” play out.

Those of you who are newer subscribers: I invite you to peruse the rich archive of stories, interviews, open threads, link roundups featuring cartoons by New Yorker cartoonist Carolita Johnson, and more.

I don’t know the exact number of posts so far, and I’m too tired to count, but for the past twelve months, I’ve published at least two pieces per week—most weeks more like three or four or even five pieces. So, it’s probably somewhere in the ballpark of 150-200 pieces. (!!!)

I’ve done the work of editing or writing all of those, and paid most contributors between $50 and $100, which adds up. (I’ve done all this in the same year that I published my debut memoir, And You May Find Yourself…Confessions of a Late-Blooming Gen-X Weirdo, taught in various places, and edited/wrote/published other newsletters, so it’s been a lot.) I pay contributors with subscription money, so if you’re not yet a paying subscriber, please consider becoming one.

I embark on Oldster’s second year with plans to do even more. For one thing, I’m going to learn how to podcast (I’m having a learning session today with Oldster contributor and Abandoned: All American Ruins podcaster Blake Pfeil!), and hope to soon make The Oldster Podcast a regular feature. I’m also almost ready to launch an advice column, “Ask The East Village Yenta.” At some point, I hope to publish an Oldster essay anthology. (I’m good at that.)

I’ll continue with questionnaires, interviews, essays, link-roundups, open threads, etc., and add contributors to the new “Letter to My Younger Self” series that I recently launched with a moving piece by Jay Blotcher. I’ll also launch another series, “Scattered Pictures,” in which contributors will share an old photo from their past and, briefly, the story behind it.

(If you’re interested in contributing to either of those series, or submitting an essay, or taking the questionnaire, visit the About page, where I’ve now posted pitching guidelines. Bear in mind that I already receive more submissions than I can quickly respond to, or have slots for. It might take me a bit to get back to you.)

I don’t have a strict schedule of what gets published when, but each week I’ll continue to publish at least two pieces, and sometimes more. Going forward, some of it (but never all!) will be kept behind a paywall.

Oldster Magazine is a reader-supported publication that pays contributors. To support this works, become a paid subscriber. Prices go up tomorrow, so lock in to the current low rates of $40/year or $6/month now..

I thank you all for being here with me—whether you’ve contributed a piece, or commented, or bought a tee-shirt or mug, or a gift subscription for a friend, or simply subscribed and followed along. Stick around; I’ve heard some things improve with age.

-Sari Botton


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Sari Botton