The creeks had burst their banks, the only road out was flooded with water hurtling past at over 1metre high and powerful enough to sweep any vehicle downstream along with trees and all manner of debris that was loose and vulnerable to such strength and intensity. There’s no landline, no mobile, no Internet and I’m by myself. Whilst I’m happily ensconced in the warmth of our shed with a fire constantly burning I’m acutely aware of my isolation. Combined with my forced isolation and the company of Martin Seligman and Gloria Steinem, here’s the four things I discovered about me and ageing …
I’m enjoying becoming older. Not only am I enjoying my life today I’m looking forward to the years ahead as I become even older. I’m curious about what is yet to unfold, yet content to be living in this moment. I meet many others who feel the same way and numerous others who see the future as one primarily of physical and potential cognitive decline with nothing really to look forward to or plan for in their lives. I believe that enjoying becoming older is something that’s possible for everyone providing we think differently. Needless to say I was delighted when I made this discovery.
Getting older is potentially powerful. Nearly 8 million Australians are over 50 years of age – that’s one-third of the country’s population! Yet how we perceive getting older and how older people are treated influences employment opportunities, lifestyle choices, health management, and marketing campaigns. Here’s one simple way that we can all challenge and disrupt age stereotypes.
I’ve recently finished Ashton Applewhite’s book: ‘This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism’. Applewhite is a skilled writer, thorough researcher, and great commentator on becoming older. One of my favourite takeaways was the idea that we are ALL old people in training. Why’s this idea important? Read more
I’m getting older. I know that. I’ve said for a long time that I plan to see 100 and beyond. And, I’m determined to age well. Age healthily. Age happily. Age productively. In community with like-minded people. I eschew the idea of a retirement village or nursing home. That’s not for me. I don’t do bingo. Have no interest in bingo. And group excursions or group events? I’ve never been a good groupie which is probably one of the reasons I won’t do cruises. I don’t like the idea of being told when to eat, what to eat or where to eat. However, there’s a ‘but’. Here it is …
Today I’m a little older than yesterday. Tomorrow I’ll be a little older than I am today. In 10 years I’ll be a bit older again, and 20 years hence, older again. Will I be old? Not if I can help it. Will life be different? Yes. Will life be slightly different to the one I had in my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or 50’s. Definitely. And guess what? That’s OK. Let’s face it, we all get older, from the day we are born. The question is: When do we become old vs becoming older?
Whilst some of us are keen to finish work and never go back, many others (including me) enjoy working and want to continue doing so beyond 55 or 65. Although we can feel discarded and made to question our relevance and value in organisations, older workers have lots to offer. Working also has health benefits. But why would anyone bother hiring an older person?
Many years ago I saw a landscaper standing on the path with his smart phone leaning against a rock as he did sign language. I marvelled at the freedom this technology had provided to the hearing impaired who use sign language as they could now visually communicate with each other using a phone. Smart phones, computers, the internet, and social media are all fantastic innovations. They provide freedom and connection. But for some it does neither. For some, technology equals …
that according to the Oxford English dictionary, retirement means: ‘The action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work’, or ‘the period of one’s life after retiring from work’. Why is this a problem?