Freedom from Ageism
While the Fourth of July often means fireworks, parades, and flags for me it is a time of reflection. Over the years I have declared independence from many things. First, it began with freedom from perfectionism. Next, it was freedom from expectation. Now, I’m my intention is freedom from ageism!
Each Generation Win
Earlier I read a study that age discrimination a form of ageism begins at age 35. Definitely, an eye opener and a data point we must take seriously. Currently, the oldest of the Millennials are entering their mid-30s while the youngest Boomers are in their early 50s. While we may have five generations in the workforce there is only one, Generation Z who escapes ageism. If we tease this out further Gen Z may experience decades of ageism. Unless each generation takes action today. Each of us has the ability to leave a legacy for generations to follow.
By understanding aging is part of our natural life process we open the door to awareness. As a result, we can examine our attitudes, language, and stereotypes. Here are my tips for freedom from ageism.
- Give yourself time – Your attitudes about aging have developed over a lifetime. Consider this a planned course correction. You will encounter the unexpected!
- Use a fill in the blank approach – Consider other isms. Is this thought or statement similar to racism or sexism? Is it based on a stereotype? Stop and reframe.
- Be vocal – I’m rocking 40 and I plan to rock 50, 60, 70, and 90 too. Consider this, no matter where you go, there you are.
- Gratitude – You won. Remember not everyone who wanted to be here is here. Everyone you meet is here now. Celebrate where you are today and hope for a tomorrow.
Currently, I am the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. My claim to fame? First gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Another accomplishment? Freewheeling After Sixty the first book to make it easier for older adults to give up driving. Lastly, this summer I’ll be speaking at the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging on Let’s Talk Sexy: It’s Part of Aging.