Lynn Winter Gross (left) and Miriam Goodman producing their podcast “Not Born Yesterday.”
Lynn Winter Gross (left) and Miriam Goodman producing their podcast “Not Born Yesterday.”

‘Not Born Yesterday’: Longtime friends team up to produce podcast on aging

Miriam Goodman and Lynn Winter Gross have been friends for nearly 60 years. They met on a Hillel trip to Israel as 18-year-olds and remained close as they went on to have successful careers and play active roles in the Bay Area Jewish community.

Now the two San Francisco seniors have embarked on a new venture — launching a podcast, called “Not Born Yesterday.” It’s free and can be accessed from a number of platforms on a smartphone or computer.

Among the many topics: “They Want Your Money,” about financial scams, “The Joy and Health Benefits of Volunteering” and, when it comes to employment, “No Such Thing as Overqualified.”

The target audience? Ages 55 and up.

“Not Born Yesterday” is “for anybody thinking about aging and what it might mean,” said Goodman.

Each episode lasts approximately 20 minutes, during which Goodman, 78, and Winter Gross, 79, interview someone they consider an expert in their field.

The podcasts are sponsored by NEXTvillagesf, a neighborhood nonprofit that provides support services and activities aimed at helping members live independently at home as they age. A new episode is released every week.

Topics run the gamut. On the more serious side: “Reframing Ageism,” how to recognize age discrimination and overcome it; and “When Someone Dies, a Practical Guide,” about legal and financial issues that need immediate attention. On a lighter note, other podcasts have covered the joys of pet ownership and options for those with the travel bug.

The two friends pick the topic, find an authority to interview (often local), write the questions, compose a beginning and ending, and handle the production. They work together from start to finish.

On a recent episode, “Rightsizing, Not Downsizing,” they interviewed Bay Area journalist and author Ciji Ware about a common problem that people run into when they move to smaller quarters: reducing the clutter. Ware offers advice on overcoming the emotional hurdles that can make it difficult.

The longtime friends, both of whom have backgrounds working with older adults, collaborated once before, in the early ’80s, when Goodman was asked to produce videos about Americans who’d made aliyah to Israel, and she recruited Winter Gross to help.

The stereotyping and discrimination against people on the basis of age has negative consequences on all of us.

Winter Gross was director of older adult programming at the JCC of San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles, where she worked in marketing and public relations and led workshops at the University of Judaism. She moved back to San Francisco about five years ago.

Goodman is a radio and TV producer, public relations consultant and author of two books: “Reinventing Retirement” and “Too Much Togetherness: Surviving Retirement as a Couple.”

Both are active in their synagogues and Jewish organizations. Goodman, a member of Congregation Beth Sholom, served on the boards of the Jewish Community Relations Council in San Francisco, Camp Tawonga and S.F. Hillel. Winter Gross served on the Council of Jewish Life at the LA Federation, currently volunteers as a job counselor at Jewish Vocational Service and tutors schoolchildren for the Jewish Coalition for Literacy. She also lectures on ageism at the San Francisco Public Library. She is a member of S.F. Congregation Emanu-El.

The two also volunteer outside the Jewish community, Goodman on the board of the Randall Museum in San Francisco and her neighborhood association, and Winter Gross with Climb Hire, an S.F.-based nonprofit that helps people build their job skills and find “upwardly mobile” jobs.

“Not Born Yesterday” allows both women to put their personal, professional and volunteer experience to use.

“The stereotyping and discrimination against people on the basis of age has negative consequences on all of us,” said Goodman, “but we are determined to inform, educate and celebrate this part of life.”

“We talk to experts about how older adults can successfully reimagine and take charge of their lives by engaging in their communities, learning new skills and supporting age-friendly policies,” said Winter Gross.

The producers are determined that their podcasts not be depressing, even when discussing potentially depressing topics. “If you get some interesting people to speak about it in a way that’s informative,” people will listen, said Winter Gross.

As for retirees who don’t know what to do with their time — a lament the women often hear —  their advice is: Assess all of your skills and accomplishments, whatever they may be, and see if you can transfer that knowledge to a new job or volunteer position.

“Look at what you’ve done over the years,” said Winter Gross. “Did you create a new product? Manage a team? Were you a member of a PTA? Look at your volunteer work.”

“People forget,“ said Goodman. “Maybe their purpose was raising a family.”

Bottom line: “Find something to do with your time so you don’t feel invisible, so you feel important, you feel needed,” said Winter Gross. “Find something to get up for.”

Neither Goodman nor Winter Gross appear to have trouble filling their time with meaningful endeavors. Even so, “Not Born Yesterday” gives them a boost. “We now have a new purpose,” said Goodman.

“Not Born Yesterday” is available on Apple, Spotify, Amazon and other platforms.

Liz Harris

Liz Harris is a J. contributor. She was J.'s culture editor from 2012-2018.