Ronversations

A rolling compendium of Ron's essays



Celebrating Older Americans Month—But Who’s “Older” These Days?

Celebrating Older Americans Month—But Who’s “Older” These Days? Every May is Older Americans Month, an annual observance led by the Administration for Community Living (https://acl.gov/), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services whose mission is that “all people, regardless of age or disability, should be able to live independently and participate

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Nurtured by Nature: How the Natural World Benefits Health and Well-being

Every year on April 22, we celebrate Earth Day, the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970, when some 20 million people attended inaugural events across the country. This year’s theme is “Invest in Our Planet”—a decidedly more fiduciary-minded approach to protecting our planet. Of course, there’s still plenty of anxiety and stress over

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Celebrating Women—All the Way through Life

Like Black History Month, National Women’s History Month offers a great opportunity each year to celebrate the achievements and advancements of those who have been largely undervalued in our society.  It’s a moment to reflect on where we are today, to widen our historical lens. On the one hand, there’s been substantial progress for women in

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Love in an Age of Ageism

Every Valentine’s Day, we’re bathed in our annual glow of romantic love, showering each other with flowers, chocolates, overpriced cards and prix fixe dinners.  This day of lovers has gradually expanded to include pretty much anyone else you love—family, friends, caregivers, teachers and school children. (Remember those little sugar candies with messages that you gave to

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The Amazing Tía Dorie: Some Key Lessons on Longevity

My Tía Dorie leads a full and active life. Tía (Spanish for “aunt”) lives with her daughter, Chris, in a continuing care community, but she spends much of her time independently, painting, reading, playing online games and puzzles, watching shows, videos and podcasts, Googling subjects of interest to herself, her children and grandchildren, and emailing family

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Celebrating a Season of Positivity

Celebrating a Season of Positivity When I think back to the Christmases of my youth, I naturally remember those magical mornings, the tree shimmering with tinsel and the presents awaiting our eager hands (and the arrival of our still sleepy parents.) It’s hard to beat the excitement of these recollections, but there was another Christmas memory

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A Time to Reflect on Giving and Gratitude

November marks a season of giving—and gratitude. Thanksgiving, of course, punctuates this time when we pause to give thanks for all we have received in life, appreciating what we have, rather than lamenting what we don’t have. Not surprisingly, as with other grand American traditions, there is some disagreement about Thanksgiving’s precise origin, with devotees in

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Let’s Celebrate the Holidays of October—But 330 of Them?

      As we head into the heart of autumn, witnessing the temperatures cool and the trees transform into their kaleidoscope of colors, I find myself searching for a quiet, unfettered hour during these October days—something I didn’t seem to have time for when I was younger.  Nothing planned, just snatches of reading or TV, daydreaming,

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Time to Rethink the Annual September-to-December Race?

       Ever since elementary school, I’ve had mixed feelings about summer—mostly the end of it.  Sure, I was excited to see friends whom I hadn’t seen since June and I felt the perennial anticipation (and anxiety) of being assigned to new classes and teachers, taking on bigger challenges and experiences. But it all went too

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Flight 2021

When we left 2020 behind, many of us topped off a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” with  “Good riddance!” It was a year of living dangerously, with the constant threat of COVID-19 hanging over us, and it became a year of living very differently, adding social isolation on top of social and political unrest. It

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Agent Cooper

AN OLD FRIEND REMAINS INTREPID–AND BECOMES SEMI-FAMOUS ALONG THE WAY A few months ago, I sat down for a cup of coffee with an old friend, Hudson Cooper–a high school buddy and an editor on my high school newspaper, where I was editor-in-chief. Hudson and I had never lost touch, not really. We had gone

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Getting There. Together.

It began as a breezy summer read. A couple of months ago, I picked up The Boys in the Boat, the best-selling book by Daniel James Brown, a true account of how nine working class boys from the University of Washington took on the Ivy League rowing world, not only winning the national collegiate crew

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MY COUSIN MANNY

THE FINE ART OF RE-INVENTION, FROM AGE 40 TO 90 Ron Roel Most everyone entering the middle ages has heard the decennial trope, “Fifty is the new forty,” which, naturally, has morphed into “Sixty is the new fifty,” as Boomers have gotten older. But few of us have envisioned how the next few decades could

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Fighting Like Dats and Cogs

HOW DO WE BEAT THE DRIVE TO DIVIDE? Ron Roel GROWING UP, I ALWAYS THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS A “DOG PERSON.” Early on, my mother turned down many pleas to get a family dog–quite understandable, since she was already raising four sons. Eventually, however, my brothers and I prevailed. We persuaded her to allow us

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Let Us Now Praise Pioneers

A TALE OF MODERN-DAY HOMESTEADING Ron Roel AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR, MY FATHER, ED ROEL, WAS LIVING WITH HIS PARENTS IN BROOKLYN, RAISING A YOUNG FAMILY WITH HIS WIFE, LESLIE ADELE, AND WORKING AS AN ENGINEER FOR THE SPERRY GYROSCOPE CO. IN GREAT NECK, LONG ISLAND. With a group of 12 Sperry engineers my

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Is Yolder a Boulder, Or a Revolutionary Way to Age?

THE YOUTH CULTURE GETS SOME GRAY, BUT STILL WANTS TO DO IT ITS WAY Ron Roel & Ken Taub MICK JAGGER JUST TURNED 70.  Not too long ago, we would have said, “Mick Jagger just turned 70 years old.” But is Mick Jagger really old? All you have to do is watch him perform… shake

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PART I

PREPARING A PLAN

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