One of my clients was recently bemoaning the ageing process. I pointed out that it was a lot better than the alternative. She seemed taken aback, momentarily unsure of what alternative I was talking about! After laughing about it we got into a discussion as to what ageing means at this time, and why it’s seen in an almost entirely negative light.
Having been in the music business from the age of 18 I thought I was getting old before I hit 20! So I’ve had plenty of time to figure out that’s it’s crazy to worry about ageing. But it’s difficult, when our fear of it is stoked by anyone who’s trying to sell anything. Our enjoyment of life is diminished, because as we grow older — that is, if we have the good fortune to stay alive — we get lumbered with a whole freight train full of societal baggage.
Older people are frequently dismissed, patronised or ostracised. Too often their wisdom is ignored, their life experience belittled, their beauty unseen, and their presence reduced to almost invisibility. Given that we’re an ageing population, this widespread, negative attitude is tragic. Not only does it tarnish everyone’s life as they grow older, but it gives young people precious little to look forward to.
Getting older has many, many benefits. If we’re so hung up on the youth we’ve left behind that we can’t see where we are in the present, then we miss these gifts. What a terrible waste!
Time to stop it?
Simple. Listen out for ageist moaning (yours and others’) and don’t participate in it. You’ll not only retain your joie de vivre, but you’ll be doing the next generation a huge favour too.
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