Cherishing the Confusion and the Mess

Jane Gross

is a retired New York Times correspondent, who spent 30 years there covering all manner of subjects from sports to autism, aging and major earthquakes and wild fires in California. She is the author of A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents — And Ourselves and creator of the “New Old Age” blog, now defunct, at the Times.
Prior to joining the Times, Ms. Gross worked for Long Island Newsday and Sports Illustrated magazine. Post-retirement, she volunteers mentoring New York City high school students and is trying her hand at ceramics.

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June 14th, 2016

Returning to the potter’s wheel, Jane Gross shares learnings on embracing uncertainty and lack of control, in ceramics and in life.

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May 31st, 2016

Shows like Mad Men and Masters of Sex depict workplaces of the 60s — and a world that seems utterly foreign to modern eyes. Yet, Jane Gross argues, the challenges women face in the workplace have not gone away, merely shifted.

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May 17th, 2016

A former sports writer, Jane Gross revisits a lifetime of rubbing elbows with our greatest athletes, from Joe DiMaggio to Muhammad Ali. Wisdom from the stadium press box on the humble, human face of fame.

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April 19th, 2016

Waiting for test results in a hospital can be a solitary event. And unexpectedly quiet in certain waiting rooms. Jane Gross on the silent solidarity of women forged while waiting for the results of their mammogram tests each year.

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April 5th, 2016

Sitting meditation isn’t a discipline easily acquired. A contemplation on the challenges of sitting and being still in modern life.

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March 22nd, 2016

After a period of seemingly endless frustration, from a parking ticket to a cancelled credit card, Jane Gross identifies the need in our lives for centered calmness, and the grace and forgiveness of our “better selves.”

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March 8th, 2016

How do you know when it’s time to say goodbye? For pets and people both, it’s not always clear when the time has come. Jane Gross on watching her dog die and reckoning with the decision of when to let go.

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February 21st, 2016

The love that siblings share is complex, and something that perhaps only they can understand. Jane Gross with a note of appreciation, frustration, perplexity, and profound love for her little brother — and the wayward path they’ve walked together.

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February 8th, 2016

Once we reach “a certain age,” our time can start to feel simultaneously precious and dreadfully empty. Our columnist finds the joy and frustration of entering into a reading group, discovering new hobbies, and rediscovering practices from the past.

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January 26th, 2016

In a culture that prizes youth and vigor, our elders often get excluded from the workplace and our media diets. Our columnist highlights Norman Lear’s frustrations with ageism and the difficulty of being recognized — and recognizing oneself — in the third act of life.

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January 10th, 2016

When a new beginning is ushered in with thunderous disappointment, it may be time to change it up. Jane Gross on keeping hope despite life’s lemons.

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December 27th, 2015

The loss of mobility as we age does more than hamper one’s movement. It separates us from the things we love. Jane Gross on grieving the temporary loss of her dog after suffering a concussion.

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December 13th, 2015

In this culture of independence, the compassion of strangers can be surprising. After an unexpected fainting spell, our columnist finds that selflessness still abounds around us — even in the hearts of her fellow New Yorkers.

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November 29th, 2015

With the world at our fingertips, why get dressed and go out at all? Jane Gross on being alone, venturing to the magic of a movie theater, and contentedly being alone in a crowd.

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November 21st, 2015

Thanksgiving is the one holiday when our columnist’s family spent the day together. In her imperfect efforts to revive the tradition of her childhood Thanksgivings, Jane Gross discovers that even small gestures — like keeping a set of gaudy dishes — can be all the tradition she needs.

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November 1st, 2015

Can the process of grieving go on too long? Especially when you write about it for a living? Jane Gross on her bout with understanding death’s unsettled trajectory.

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October 18th, 2015

Ceramics can provide ritual to quiet a frazzled mind. But even when it doesn’t go so well, there are lessons to be learned in calm perseverance. Jane Gross shares a lesson from the potter’s wheel.

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October 4th, 2015

Many people may only attend services on special holidays or days of sacred obligation. Jane Gross, a single New Yorker now in her 60s, relays her own story of trying to reconnect with community for the Days of Awe and finding new comfort in her solitude on Yom Kippur.