What is your life’s purpose?
To be true to myself and to pursue my goals at every age of my life—especially, to eradicate ageism.
How are you living your purpose?
I’m an author, always working on the next book, and constantly looking into myself for new ideas, compassion, and goals.
I have published eleven books about ageism, including:
The Viagra Diaries, a novel about a 65-year-old woman who defies ageism, who acts and lives as she feels and is not defined by a number.
Should I Sleep in His Dead Wife’s Bed, a novel about a therapist looking for romantic love. She is researching a book about ageism with men. She and her friends of all ages fight for an ageless generation and win with everything.
. . . There’s Something Wrong with All of Them, a series of snippets, short stories about a woman looking for love, finding something wrong with all of them until she realizes what’s wrong with her. It’s about men and women over 50 looking for love, sex, personal romances in the world of technology and ageism.
Anyone Can Write, stories for women and men over 50 who want to write books and think because of their age it’s too late. Craft stories and writing aerobics and the author’s stories about publishing and anecdotes.
I also founded the first Age March in history, with the goal to celebrate age pride at any age and to end age discrimination. I have organized four Age Marches to date; my hope is that these marches will happen in every US state and even go global (like the Woman’s March). I am currently working on this.
How did you find your purpose?
When I was 50, I received my MFA in creative writing, but because of my age I was not tenured. “You’re too old,” the university said. I vowed to find a way to help women over 50 pursue their goals. I now teach writing workshops for the ageless writer—women over 50 and up to 100.
What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
To find what you are to do, make a wish—or wishes. Could be childhood wishes. I always had a secret desire to be an actor. When I was 73, I studied acting. I wrote a 70-minute monologue about a woman who was looking for romantic love and success. Only ageism got in the way. I performed that monologue at the San Francisco Commonwealth Club. Over 300 people showed up—yes, I was terrified—and it was televised for a year. I’m now writing a new monologue.
Or a wish could be a need to make a difference in some way. Look inside yourself. What is burning inside you? Is it to save butterflies, or ants, or elephants, or dogs? Help starving children? Or is it something as simple as baking cookies for the homeless. Whatever. Look deep inside you. Use your own experiences and insights to guide you. For me, I so resented ageism: being ignored because I was over 40, not getting jobs that I was over-qualified for because I was 50 or 60. Told to get married and forget a career. Told to be age appropriate—there’s no such thing. We can be or do anything we want.
Once you know what you are meant to do, do it. Just start. Once you start, there is no stopping.
Do it because you feel it. Not because you want recognition. You don’t get recognition. The only recognition you get is for yourself, that you believe in your purpose. Work to process its evolution and to see it through. No matter how noble one’s purpose is, I have found that it’s often ignored, sometimes for years, until someone else does it. So my motto is, don’t expect anything, even when you put it out there. But do it. Plant your own tree. Believe in your purpose. Make it happen.
When I first brought Age March in 2010 to many groups, links, clubs, places, newspapers, even AARP, everyone said no one cares about age. But it isn’t about age. It’s about ignoring the numbers and expanding opportunities, self-esteem, and moving forward. The only time I felt recognition was when I did it myself. I found people who would help and believed in our mission; it was a grass-roots effort. But if you expect kudos, people to market and help you, expect that most people won’t.
What resources do you recommend?
People inspire me: Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Amma, the women over sixty in my classes and the women over eighty who are writing books and making films. Of course, there are great literary classics—like Jane Austen when 30 was old—and historical icons—famous painters and ballet dancers—that reveal ageism. Up to today when anyone over 50 is old, when people over 60 are made to feel invisible. I believe in generations to come we will smile when we look back; 90 will be like 40 as we continue to live longer.
Age is not a number. It’s how you act, feel, and pursue purpose.
The Viagra Diaries
Should I Sleep in His Dead Wife’s Bed
The Rise and Fall of a Jewish American Princess
God Doesn’t Make Trash
. . . There’s Something Wrong with All of Them
Oysters and Angels and Writing Aerobics
And more: Check out my Author Page on Amazon
Barbara Rose Brooker is a San Francisco native author with an MFA in creative writing. She has published fiction with Morrow, Simon & Schuster, and other presses. Since 1992, she teaches writing workshops for the ageless woman. Her latest novel The Viagra Diaries is optioned by CBS/CW and is in the process of being made into a television series. She writes Boomer In The City, a column on over fifty relationships, for the JWeekly and the Huffington Post. She has been on The Today Show, The Talk, Bravo with Andy Cohen and other national and local shows. She performs her one woman show about a woman over seventy at the SF Commonwealth Club. (See clips on www.barbararosebrooker.com) She is the founder of the first AGE MARCH in history and is working on it going global.