The Video: An eccentric 78-year-old roams the main drag of Van Horn, Texas, pretty pleased with the present.
(No. 71 -- premium content) Unlike me, Jessie "Chumba" and his dog Whiteface aren't frightened by passing semi-trucks. Video by Stephen P. Williams
The video, above, is an example of how I let my curiosity and desire to learn keep me feeling fit and valued. Two years ago I started teaching myself how to make short films, just using an iPhone. From the start, the medium captured my imagination. This accidental encounter with Jesse “Chumba” is one of my first video portraits of a stranger. I’ve since made a hundred other short videos about people, historical landscapes and cities. I’m now teaching myself how to use complex video editing and music software, in order to be able to make better shorts and, eventually, a full-length documentary.
I’ve been taking video courses online, and experimenting — and making tons of mistakes and amateur moves. I decided early on to learn in public, exposing myself in sometimes unnerving ways by posting my works in progress on my Instagram account, called Everlands_. (Follow, please.) I have a lot to learn, but I’m lucky to be living in the golden age of online learning. I love to take advantage of all the courses, connections and inspiring creations on offer. My interview with Jesse, above, is technically very flawed, but I think this chance meeting revealed a lot about humanity — especially the benefits of a calm, generous approach to the world that Jesse embodies.
I’ll be sharing other original videos in future newsletters, for paid subscribers.
Big news from Stephen: This video, and the science and culture links that follow, are premium content — surprising, entertaining news that will help you age well. After next week, this type of premium content will only be available to paid subscribers. I hope you’ll support the considerable (yet pleasurable) work that goes into this publication by signing on to a paid plan when the next newsletter arrives in one week. The premium newsletter will be $5 a month (or $50 for a year-long plan, a 10 dollar discount). If you can’t swing it, let me know and I’ll send you a gift subscription. I feel such affection for the all the Stephen’s People people who read this newsletter.
Possibly useful info about the science and culture of aging (dis)gracefully
Most days I spend a few hours wandering online and in books, taking notes and filing ideas away. Twice a month I will share a collection of links, to paid subscribers. The first collection is below.
Photo by Corina Rainer on Unsplash
Has the pandemic aged you?
“I described my pandemic rut to Ken Dychtwald, a psychologist and gerontologist, mentioning that it had left me feeling like a 60-year-old. Dr. Dychtwald, who is 71, did not take kindly to that remark, saying it showed “a profound level of ageism.” Steven Kurutz writes in the New York Times that he is “Too Young to Feel Old.”
Early greens to the rescue
That perennial health favorite, the Mediterranean diet, is back in the news. This time researchers say that eating more vegetables, healthy oils, like olive and avocado, lots of greens, a little fish and hardly any meat, might extend a person’s life by 13 years -- if they start eating this way in their 20s.
Pull the pin on the crimson grenade
Supposedly, pomegranates were a symbol of both death and fertility to ancient Greeks. Also known as “crimson grenades,” these fruits seem to have potent antioxidants and other qualities that help a person stay strong and young. This very funny video of older people happily working out explains it all.
What happens to our hair as we age? A lot.
I am with you if the thought of exercising your anxiety away makes you anxious. But that’s exactly why we both need to do it.
The erotic allure of a blue medical mask
Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash
Researchers in Wales have found that face masks make people more attractive.
Senior Instagram moment
Painting blue flowers on white walls makes us more limber.
Betrayed by a reflection
“It’s very strange to persist in feeling 22, even as every mirror — and every storefront window and polished elevator door — reveals the truth.” Margaret Renkl writes about crossing the line.
NFT meme of the week
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For two years and over 70 issues I’ve produced this newsletter as a labor of love, and I’d like to continue as we move into a paid edition. I’m grateful to all of you for reading my writing, and sharing your stories. Let me know what you think, at email@example.com