79 Comments

Ruth Pennebaker, YOU are the 74-year-old everyone wants to be, plus you look somewhere between 40 and 50. That broccoli is working!

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Nov 29, 2023Liked by Sari Botton

Ruth is certainly talking for me. I just turned 74 yesterday. I’m still fluting in the band, teaching yoga and riding my scooter. I’ve always exercised and still eat like crap. The hardest part is watching your friends get sick and die.. I cuss more now than I ever did, it goes well with he gray hair.

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Ruth Pennebaker, I LOVE YOU. From the despondent picture of you and your broccoli, to your coining of the phrase "a menopause of ambition", to your refusal to give up swearing, to your lifting up of the great oldsters of country music you are EXACTLY the sort of woman I aspire to be. Thanks for being yourself and sharing that self here. Ya-fucking-hoo!

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Fearing a return to high school more than waking up dead, Ruth you are all of us!

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I’d like to be you when I grow up. Seriously fantastic attitude and enjoyable to read.

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At 74, I look back and embrace the past which has evolved five careers in the arts - music, theater, filmmaking, teaching and writing, several coming to fruition after 50. That slow evolution, good health, a humor filled and bawdy 50 year marriage, great kids, not being rich , and being retired but still working some (no boss) along with a savings, more exercise and better food makes for a kind of peak in life. A do shamelessly fish for moments when someone says ‘ you’re 74! I never would have guessed that. ‘ Aw, shucks. Say it again.

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I loved this post!

" a body that stubbornly rearranges itself without my permission." I know it well at 78.

Me, I point at my grey hair and say that every one represents a blown fuse.

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Ruth, you are my heroine! I especially like your reaction/response to sing-song medical personnel who ask how "we" are doing today. That "F" bomb works every time. I'm seventy-two and I also live in Austin. Nice to know that you're out there, kicking up mischief and living a full, engaged life that include carbs and country music.

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“At this age, I’m not sure I’m interested in being in step with my peers or anybody else. Can’t we stop comparing ourselves now?” And also the end of this article really touched me. I love articles like this one because I agree that ageism has had too much of an impact on the common mindset. Growing up, I’d see my parents becoming only more enthusiastic, their true fun colours coming out and I felt inspired. I’m 32. A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with a rare and painful tumor. It has since given me a new appreciation for stopping and smelling the roses so to speak. But what I also realized from your article is that the years after something that only looks like a roadblock to manage, are bonus years to appreciate. Thank you for this article I really loved it. ❤️

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I too developed a “menopause of ambition,” haha!! It was startling to say the least. I always likened my previous existence (Act I) to that of a hound with its head down, running hard chasing the hare, only to lift its head one day, ragged with the miles, wondering for the first time where in the world it was standing and what exactly had it been chasing this whole time anyway?? Mush mush, onward to the cake and champagne!🥂

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"So, yeah, I celebrate my birthday week by gorging on cake and carbohydrates and picking out the restaurants we go to". That's a great way to be 74 (or any age).

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Nov 29, 2023Liked by Sari Botton

A lady after my own heart. Broccoli is also my “nemesis,”

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Nov 30, 2023Liked by Sari Botton

this is lovely. i've always wanted to live in ny and i've been worried it will never happen, that at 50 my chances have passed. my new goal is a year-long sabbatical at age 59!

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Nov 29, 2023Liked by Sari Botton

I love everything about this.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Ruth in person and can attest to her awesomeness. So glad you are featuring here. She’s one hilarious lady, great wit and writer....

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Hi, Ruth! You are way more delicious than a turkey. I am so glad to know you and meet you here for the last of breakfast!

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