This is What 54 looks like

So I finally read the NY Times piece about the famous-for-being-old Gloria Steinem.

Two things from me:

  • While the title of the piece is “this is what 80 looks like” they don’t actually run a photo of Steinem, so we can see what she looks like. Why?
  • Things are better now. When she published her “what 40 looks like” it was perceived as brave, even scandalous. That would not be the case in 2014. What 40 looks like? Who cares?

And a couple her thoughts on her mortality:

Fifty was a shock, because it was the end of the center period of life. But once I got over that, 60 was great. Seventy was great. And I loved, I seriously loved aging. I found myself thinking things like: ‘I don’t want anything I don’t have.’ How great is that?” But, she added, “80 is about mortality, not aging. Or not just aging.”

It’s a challenge she’s actually wrestled with before. One of the interesting things about being Gloria Steinem is that so many of her casual musings are transcribed by reporters. It turns out that on her 70th birthday she told Time, “This one has the ring of mortality.” Obviously, she got over that and it’s very easy to imagine Gloria Steinem being interviewed at 90 and saying that turning 80 was stupendous, but now it’s time to get seriously serious.

So for anyone keeping score:

50 = a shock (can’t say I disagree)

60 = great

70 = also great or the ring of mortality (if we get to choose, I’m going to go with great)

80 = mortality


This is what 54 looks like, not that anyone asked.


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