Inspiring Women February 2023

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we asked a man getting out of his car<br />

if there was a Biergarten nearby. He<br />

responded, “No, but wait here.“ He<br />

went into his house, and when he and<br />

his wife came out, they had lawn chairs<br />

and beers for all.<br />

Who would have thought…<br />

Finally, what continues to surprise and<br />

delight me is that I‘m doing this at a<br />

time in my life when I would not have<br />

predicted doing so. If anyone had told<br />

me in my 50s or 60s that I‘d be biking<br />

thousands of kilometers as I approach<br />

80, I‘d have said, “Yeah, sure.“ Indeed, I<br />

would have been guilty of both<br />

stereotyping and ageism. Instead, I<br />

enjoy biking and hope to continue to do<br />

so into my 90s.<br />

Embracing maturity<br />

This is my “Golden Age,“ full of fun,<br />

stimulation, and rewards, offering<br />

• z Opportunities to engage in<br />

satisfying and stimulating activities<br />

(music, books, travel, etc.) and to<br />

meet new challenges (piano<br />

playing, and eBikes).<br />

• z Freedom and flexibility for<br />

travel and activities: any day, any<br />

time of day, any place that meets<br />

our interests and budget.<br />

• z Opportunities to share my<br />

experience and abilities, in<br />

particular in AWC Berlin, where I<br />

currently serve as Parliamentarian,<br />

as chair of the Constitution<br />

Committee, and as a book club<br />

coordinator. I've also been<br />

secretary and chair of the<br />

Nominating Committee.<br />

• z Intellectual challenges as my<br />

husband and I explore and discuss<br />

widely ranging topics, read books<br />

together, and have frequent<br />

intellectual dinner parties.<br />

Marriage ceremony of Claudia to her second<br />

husband. (top)<br />

Claudia and her husband in Istanbul. (middle)<br />

Claudia and her husband taking a spin on the<br />

dance floor. (bottom)<br />

• z Opportunities to be a "digital citizen,"<br />

enjoying the technological advances of our<br />

times. So, no paper newspapers or paper<br />

books, and through a variety of apps, easy<br />

access to knowledge, entertainment, and<br />

connections to friends and relatives, near and<br />

far, including my best friend and others from<br />

the 1940s and onward.<br />

What would my 25-year-old self think?<br />

She would be impressed and proud, noting,<br />

“You followed your mother‘s advice in so many<br />

ways, even further than perhaps either of you<br />

anticipated.“ Examples:<br />

• z Don’t stay in a job when you‘ve mastered<br />

it: I changed jobs every two to three years<br />

until I became CEO of a national professional<br />

association, where, even after 18 years, I was<br />

still challenged and stimulated.<br />

• z Do whatever you want career-wise, but<br />

never depend on a man for money: I was<br />

self-sufficient throughout my single years, the<br />

sole provider during my first marriage and<br />

I share financial responsibility with my<br />

current husband.<br />

• z Don’t hesitate to learn, do new things,<br />

help others, enjoy life, stay active, accept<br />

challenges and act outside the norm:<br />

♦ ♦ Starting weekly piano lessons two<br />

years ago, 65 years since my last<br />

childhood lesson.<br />

♦ ♦ Taking up eBiking at age 70.<br />

♦ ♦ Remarrying at age 75.<br />

♦ ♦ Tutoring Syrian refugees in English,<br />

gaining friends as I did so.<br />

♦ ♦ Studying German at age 70—and<br />

still struggling with it.<br />

♦ ♦ Reading two to three eBooks<br />

weekly, sometimes more.<br />

♦ ♦ Becoming comfortable with<br />

German Thermes/saunas.<br />

♦ ♦ Attending multiple concerts and<br />

operas weekly, as well as the occasional<br />

ball. (I love dancing, from the twist to<br />

the waltz.)<br />

♦ ♦ Hosting salons, where we explore<br />

with friends such topics as "What<br />

Is a Good Life?, What Is Progress?,<br />

Thoughts About Death, The Digital<br />

Society, Elderhood."<br />

♦ ♦ Travel as much as possible: I‘ve traveled<br />

to 27 countries over my lifetime. In 2022,<br />

we visited six countries (The Netherlands,<br />

Morocco, Switzerland, Poland, Croatia,<br />

Slovakia) and multiple German towns and<br />

cities. We’re already planning more travels<br />

in <strong>2023</strong> and beyond.<br />

Things I’ve no patience for these days<br />

Considering my experience, I no longer have<br />

patience with sexism, racism, ageism, etc.<br />

Actually, lack of patience is not new, thanks to<br />

my experiences during the Flower Child years in<br />

San Francisco, but over the years, it has matured<br />

and expanded in expression. Example: While CEO<br />

of an organization populated mainly by women<br />

who worked for physicians (mostly male), I urged<br />

my female staff and members to resist calling<br />

themselves “girls“ and allowing others to do so.<br />

"You are women,“ I reminded them repeatedly.<br />

And, “If you are girls, then the men are boys.<br />

“ I am a woman; hear me roar!"<br />


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