Recently on the radio program I interviewed Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council of Active Aging, and I threw this new idea I had to him as he has been a great influencer, friend, contributor and guest for quite some time now. I said, “Colin, I have this new idea about changing the term ‘getting older’ and turning it into ‘growing older’, it is a whole lot less negative. I get tired of people blaming a sore back or knee or whatever else on the mindset and accepting all of this because I am ‘getting old’”. Colin liked it, asked if he could use it and of course I said yes.Another guest on the radio program, author Ashton Applewhite of ‘This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism’(great book) shares that the worst offenders of the perpetuation/proliferation of an ageist mentality and culture are, drum roll please, OLDER PEOPLE!
Who would have thunk it?
This culpability belongs to a phenomenon I describe as the ‘Social Conditioning of Growing Older’. All of these ageist activities are a product of limited mindsets, beliefs and bigoted short-sighted acceptances of the 21st century. We are living longer, so there are a lot more older people to continue to think this way.
The time has come to redefine our cultural principles.
From the ‘MiddleLiving Economy’ and the ‘Mama Bear Mentality’, to the ‘Mindset of Exceptionalism-ness and of course the ‘Vuja de Effect of MiddleLiving’ I have written many blogs and shared over 1,000 one hour radio talk shows sharing the love for growing older and the compelling ‘HOW’.
It is up to each of us to figure out our own compelling ‘WHY’!
Think about this-
When we admit that our judgment is clouded, believing older adults are able to ‘still’ drive, or ‘still’ work out, or ‘still’ go to school, or ‘still’ make love this creates and perpetuates an ageist cultural mentality. Acceptance of such norms are an impediment to our societal and personal growth and progress, young and old. Understanding how this is a limiting belief we can redefine the old school social conditioning that ‘getting older’ is much different than ‘growing older’.
Every time the ‘still’ mindset is used it diminishes the societal worth of all older adults!
Accepting that a mindset of an older person being able to ‘still’, for example, attend a granddaughters basketball game or ‘still’ attend grandsons dance recital is a positive attribute is frankly insulting.
Dr. Bill Thomas, an author and geriatrician whose book, ‘Second Wind’ (totally badass) describes how the world can redefine aging. He writes that the word ‘still’ describes the subculture of what he calls “Realists”.
Dr. Thomas thinks baby boomers (I use the term MiddleLiving and SuperiorSeniors) fall into one of three categories:
- Denialists, who loudly reject changes that come with age. (I am not old)
- Realists, who view aging as bad and actively resist aging changes. (I am getting old, oh well)
- Enthusiasts, who find aging interesting and they can’t wait to explore it. (I am free, lets rock!)
Dr. Thomas believes that ‘still’ fits Realists because they cannot see the value of life beyond earlier stage adulthood. It is a conundrum which traps them in a distressed and eventually hopeless effort to continue living as they did when they were younger.
A Denialist just does not accept the notion of getting older at all. Another steaming pile of horse manure!
As we all are living longer the statistics across the board point to all of us discovering that living healthy can be a turning point. Ponder these-
- In the next ten years, U.S. baby boomers will increase their annual spending on wellness-based services from approximately $200M to $1 trillion (Paul Zane Pilzer, The Next Trillion).
- Americans 55+ are the fastest-growing age group among gym members, up more than 266% since 1987 (IBISWorld).
- 82% of adults aged 50+ who use the Internet research health and wellness information online (Pew and American Life Project)
- Some estimate that the rise in entrepreneurship for those 55 and over could increase yet another 20% in the next 10-15 years.
- “The 55+ age group controls more than three-fourths of America’s wealth (ICSC).
- Fifty-plus American women are the healthiest, wealthiest and most active generation of women in history.
Limitations are only as deep as an individual may perceive. It is the cultural conditioning and said acceptance of those limits that determine the depth of the pool.
I like to think that an individual’s halo is as bright and strong as they choose. If your personal WHY is strong then your HOW will become second nature, I promise. The social conditioning of growing older can be a rocket (enthusiast), a Packard (realist) or a stagecoach (denialist), what’s your preference!
Inspiration + Inclination= Motivation
Choice + Challenge= Change
The serendipitous law of attraction (I love this term), can be a strong halo, use it to bring awesome people and activities into your life. You can than leverage your life’s experience’s to give back to those less fortunate and watch and live the magic, it can and will be some kind of road trip!
I like it.