Golden Agers: A new series celebrating residents who have retired but remain active in the community

YOUNG AT HEART: Writer Carol Kaufman aims to challenge negative stereotypes associated with older residents in Xpress’ new monthly series. Photo by Sammy Vanek

The key moment that motivated me to pitch my “Golden Agers” idea to Xpress followed a conversation I had with AARP’s local director, Rebecca Chaplin.

Chaplin is an effervescent woman whose aim, along with her many volunteers, is to disrupt negative ageist beliefs.

As one of those AARP volunteers, I recently attended an organizational lunch, and Chaplin happened to be seated next to me. I wanted her feedback about my idea to write a series of articles highlighting cool local retirees, 60-plus, doing cool things. Needless to say, Chaplin loved the concept and urged me on.

I pitched my idea to Xpress and was given the thumbs-up to create a 10-part, monthly series. The next day, I was searching the internet for the perfect title, and “Golden Agers” was the clear winner.

The phrase speaks of radiance, joy, jubilance and “jubilado”— the Spanish word for “retired.” In my eyes, those who personify the term are redefining retirement, and I am eager to bring a handful of them out of anonymity and into the light of day.

My love for writing human interest stories stems from a hefty dose of curiosity and an appetite for adventure, all of which were put to the test when I moved from California to México in early 2016. Along the shores of Lake Chapala sits a popular expatriate community — the place I experienced not only living in another culture but landing a gig as a freelance writer with The Guadalajara Reporter, a weekly English-language newspaper.

I spent the next three years writing about retirees who chose Lake Chapala as their locale, either as full-time residents or as wintering snowbirds. These golden agers were engaged in activities that were helping build stronger communities while creating a better place for all. In my eyes, these folks were crushing negative ageist beliefs and redefining retirement in a positive light.

While in Mexico, I also kept hearing about this vibrant mountainous city in Western North Carolina, previously unknown to me. As a native Californian, I never thought I would live in the South, but the glowing remarks I heard about Asheville convinced me to move here five years ago.

Now, once again, I am donning my writer’s cap, this time to shine the spotlight on 10 of Asheville’s admirable golden agers; those who may be retired from work but not from life.


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About Carol Kaufman
Human interest writer living in Asheville.

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4 thoughts on “Golden Agers: A new series celebrating residents who have retired but remain active in the community

    • Carol Kaufman

      I either find my subjects through referrals, meet up groups, neighbors or our local AARP volunteers. So far, these methods seem to be working!

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