What We're Reading: How to Age Against the Machine

September 8, 2023
What We're Reading: How to Age Against the Machine

We’re reading "How to Age Against the Machine:  An Empowering Guide for Women Ageing on Their Own Terms" by Melissa Doyle and Naima Brown this month. 

When I first picked up How to Age Against the Machine, I was taken aback by its boldness and beauty. The on-trend colour palette, the perfectly chosen fonts, the luxe matte feel of the pages. And the unexpected size of it too (it’s a book just waiting to be placed decoratively on a coffee table).

But I wondered, as I flicked to the first page eagerly, is this just another book preaching empowered aging while actually still subtly promoting the boring “age gracefully” stereotype? 

Thankfully, no. 

The opening words went like this;

“Maybe you’re wondering if you’re the only one who feels invisible when she walks down the street, and maybe you’re wondering if you’re crazy for actually enjoying parts of that invisibility. You may be trying to decide if botox is for you, or if you should just let your grey hair shine in all its glory and give up the dye. Perhaps you’re feeling some fear - aging is full of unknowns - and you’re wanting to tap into all the wisdom, stories and information that you can to fortify yourself as you enter a new phase of your life. Point is you’ve got a lot going on”. 

And immediately I felt seen.

Sure, aging is a natural and beautiful part of life. A privilege, not a burden. But I think we can all agree it’s also a complex topic with mixed emotions around it. And while How to Age Against the Machine isn’t going to completely change the conversation around aging, I found it beautiful, insightful and empowering with chapter titles like these that spoke to me in new & refreshing ways;

What the hell is going on (scientifically speaking)

Sex, intimacy and enjoying our bodies

Women & money

Women & work

The ageism machine

Grief, loss and letting go

Mortality and end of life planning

So my hot take on this book is this:

In a world that often perpetuates ageism and unrealistic beauty standards, "How to Age Against the Machine" by Melissa Doyle and Naima Brown is a refreshing and empowering guide for women navigating the sweet spot of midlife. While this book isn’t going to necessarily change how the world looks at us as we age (this is obviously a book designed for women to buy), it will hopefully shift the way we witness ourselves and the women around us. And on that note, I’m off to go and buy copies for my sister, sister-in-law and girlfriends...... Cheers to reimagining how we age. 

Written by Alice Abba ~ Director of Possibility with Connected Women. Proudly marching towards midlife.