PEOPLE of all ages crowded into the Arts Centre on the penultimate day of the Swindon Festival Of Literature to learn about a new way to think about ageing.
Broadcaster Anne Karpf filled the lunchtime hour yesterday with a talk about the arguments in her latest book in the School Of Life series, How To Age.
Anne discussed the conflicting mainstream trends in the way we think about growing older and our mortality, criticised the increasing paranoia with ageing among younger people and advocated a new way and new language for talking about aging.
She told her audience: “I am delighted to be here but don’t sue me because I’m not going to talk about what’s billed.
“I’m not going to tell you how to age, there isn’t a correct way to age, there are just people aging.
“I wrote this book because I was so concerned about the tropes around ageing and how we talk about it.
“In a lot of the language people today use, people above a certain age are criminals.
“They are draining resources from the state, and taking jobs from younger people.
“They’re also the cause of homelessness because they have bought up all the houses.
They have benefited from free education and taken it away from younger people, they get a free bus pass, help with their fuel and a TV licence.
“They’re also guilty of using the NHS, and the fact that some of them are of the generation which had the NHS established in the first place is of no consequence.
“This image of the decrepit, useless older person is counteracted by the reactionary view of the ageless generation.
“The baby boomer invented the pill, they are the generation which does not age, the amortals. And this view is just as distorted as the other.
“But there is a third way. Everybody likes third ways. It’s a third way between ageism, and idealising old age.”
Anne went on to describe how the way we talk and think about ageing can be countered if we accept aging and death as part of our discourse from a young age.
Today marks the finale of the 21st Swindon Festival of Literature but there is still plenty to enjoy, from as writing workshop and lunch and the grand finale in the town hall.
For more information about the festival visit www.swindonfestivalofliterature.co.uk.