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Don’t assume older people are ‘soft’

THE LETTER to the editor from Margaret Morganroth Gullette (“As we age, our attitudes soften,” Oct. 13), quotes Romano Guardini to the effect that, in old age, the “hardness” of reality “is softened by the experience of transitoriness.” Gullette adds that “perhaps one’s realization of the instability of identity promotes the kind of wisdom that some older people possess — greater kindness and sensitivity, greater respect for differences.”

Of course, some old people possess such traits, as do some young people. But it is time to get away from the stereotype that such traits have a special connection with old age. As a 66-year-old, I reject the view that my contemporaries should be expected to have “softer” attitudes than young people.

Nimue Ackerman


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