Frequently Asked Questions About Time Goes By

Does Time Goes By have any guiding principles?
Yes, the major principle follows the blog subtitle, “what it’s really like to get old”.

Nothing on Time Goes By denies the realities of aging, the decline that affects everyone if they live long enough. But I do not make that the primary definition of getting old as so much of the culture and media do.

Why do you use the term “elder” for old people?
When Time Goes By began, I rejected all the cutesy terms for old people – golden ager, third ager, oldster, 80 years young, etc. because they infantilize elders. And none of the pejorative words – geezer, coot, biddy, etc. – were allowed.

“Mature” makes little sense because anyone can be mature. And “senior citizen” carries too much of an institutional whiff about it. So I settled on “old” and “older.”

Until Time Goes By took up the word “elder”, it had been used for decades only in reference to tribal old people. It is a lovely old word in need of resurrection that conveys respect, dignity, experience, judgment and even, sometimes, wisdom. I have had some success in getting mainstream media to use elder more often.

Why do you write so often about language in regard to aging?
Language has the power to change minds. The words we use help define our attitudes and beliefs, both positive and negative. Much language in the media and culture carry negative images of elders that burrow deep into our consciousness – even of elders.

So bringing language to the attention of readers helps change those elder-biased attitudes.

How did you become an elder advocate?
I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened along the way as other bloggers, newspapers, radio hosts, podcasters, etc. asked to interview me. It was in answering their questions that I realized how strongly I feel about entrenched ageism and age discrimination against elders and that since I apparently have a platform now, it is a good idea to put it to use.

I occasionally speak at technology conferences where the attendees, often from large corporations that can make a difference in improving the online experience for elders, have listened and as changes are made, that will, as in a circle, improve attitudes toward elders which will bring more changes. All that is to the better and I’m pleased to be part of it.

Do you have any rules about commenting?
Beyond the (awful) Typepad CAPTCHA string of letters that is required to post, anyone may post a comment and I do not moderate comments. However, in addition to spam that sometimes sneaks through, I do remove comments that:

  • Promote a commercial product, service, website or blog
  • Use excessively foul language to no purpose
  • Are too far off-topic
  • Do not argue in a civil tone

All opinions are welcome and one of the things I like best about Time Goes By is the lively discussion among readers in the comments section.

How can I get my blog listed on the Elderbloggers List?
The list is by no means definitive. It consists of good blogs written by elders that have come to my attention. Here are the criteria:

  • The blogger must be age 50 or older
  • The blog must post a new entry at least once a week
  • The blog must be designed well enough to be easily navigable
  • The blog must be reasonably well-written and follow the generally accepted rules of spelling, grammar and syntax
  • No light-colored text on a dark background
  • It must be a personal, not commercial or business blog
  • The blog must have been regularly published for at least three months
  • The blog should be a compelling read

Email blog suggestions and if they meet the criteria, they will be included in the next update of the list which happens whenever I feel like it.

Who can post an Elder badge on their blog?
Anyone may post an Elder badge whether or not they are on the Elderbloggers list and even if they are not yet an elder. The idea is to promote elderbloggers as a recognized part of the blogosphere like mommybloggers, political bloggers, food bloggers, etc. You can find the badges

Why did you move to Portland, Maine, from Manhattan?
In the summer of 2004, along with about 30 or 40 other people, I was laid off from my job at the website of a global IT research company. As my younger colleagues found new jobs in six or eight or ten weeks, I could barely get any interviews and the few I got dismissed me as a candidate as soon as they saw how old I am.

(Believe me, you have not lived until a 20-something interviewer leans across her desk, pats your arm and says, “Tell me about your life goals, dear.”)

Money was going out, none was coming in and so I sold my apartment in Greenwich Village to move to a less expensive town.

After a visit in August 2007, to my original hometown of Portland, Oregon, I have felt a strong emotion tug to return there. I will watch housing prices through the coming fall and winter and depending on the housing market, will move there in the summer of 2008.

What are other sources of information about Time Goes By?
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The Washington Post Live Chat
The Austin Chronicle
AARP Bulletin
Blogher ’05 panel: How To Get Naked (audio)
Guardian Unlimited
One By One Media
2007 Gnomedex presentation

Ronni Bennett
Portland, Maine
23 September 2007