Author Susan Jacoby has just turned 65, and she's not signing up for the "90-is-the-new-50" school of thought on aging. Having seen what old age did to the women in her family in their 90s—bright minds trapped in failing bodies, and in the case of one grandmother, Alzheimer's—she counters the "age-denying" credo of many in her generation with this view in her New York Times essay: "My hope is that I will not live as long as my mother and grandmother."
Sure, it'll be great if science gives us all productive lives for a century. "What I expect, though—if I do live as long as the other women in my family—is nothing less than an unremitting struggle, ideally laced with moments of grace," writes Jacoby. She recalls her grandmother marveling that the "beauty of the world" will go on without her. "If I can say that, in full knowledge of my rapidly approaching extinction, I will consider my life a success—even though I will have failed, as everyone ultimately does, to defy old age." Read the full column here.