Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Barbara Ehrenreich on the absurd contradictions of trying to age 'successfully'

Barbara Ehrenreich, at 77, is learning to just say no – no to the kind of intensive, intrusive medical tests that may tell her absolutely nothing, no to the books and the nostrums that say that you can live forever or make your body grow younger, not older. Once she realized she was old enough to die, Ehrenreich, the author of the new book "Natural Causes," said she decided she would put up with no more "suffering, annoyance and boredom" in pursuit of a longer life. Instead, the woman who also wrote the groundbreaking book "Nickel and Dimed" chooses the foods she likes, the exercise that suffices, and the doctor visits that address only the pains she actually feels. Is American medicine - is American life - ready for this?

Q. Do you remember the moment when you decided that, nuh-uh, no more?

A. It was a decision that took a long while. Bit by bit, I'd say, wait, why am I going to spend much of the afternoon in a waiting room of a doctor's complex to find out something I'm not sure I'm even going to act on in any way? And also I'm a serious person, and I have a background in science, so I would look up what the debate was among doctors themselves

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