I like to travel, yet I’ve barely touched the surface of what the world has to offer when it comes to antiquities. And when I do encounter them, I’m just like the rest of the tourists, carefully standing in awe and admiration, soaking in the history. I was recently in Scotland, and the grandeur of the old buildings really made my heart pitter-patter with happiness. Such beauty.
But you know what upsets me? We don’t always value ourselves and our age the same way we do such historical artifacts – be it the ancient pyramids or even great grandma’s string of pearls that are carefully stored away in a sealed box and pulled out for special occasions. Why do we not always take such good care of ourselves? Why do we find it easy to see ourselves as less useful or not as smart because we’ve been around longer than others?
We stand in front of old landmarks, snapping cameras along with the crowd and giving the appropriate “ooh and ahh”, but then get annoyed when we have to admit our age to someone.
Do we at times promote a double standard? I think we do. And we should not.
We carry a composite of our years with us, just like those old buildings dripping in history that we so admire. Only I would argue we are just as amazing, if not more so. We literally add the human element to life. We are treasures too, and we need to live lives that reflect it.
I hope you will join me as I read articles and “drink in” other thoughts about aging!
You may or may not agree with everything said in the articles below, but I’ve found they provide plenty of food for thought and can give really great encouragement.
You may not have time to read each piece of writing, so I've also pulled out quotes from each that really resonate with me.
Happy reading, my friends!
Bloomburg: In Aging Singapore, 65-Year-Olds Are Learning How to Code
“Learning is a lifelong process, and I want to keep my mind active,” the 65-year-old said in an interview at a new Singtel office in Singapore, where it will conduct training. “I also hope to encourage and inspire the younger generation of workers, and show them that you can learn new skills no matter how far you are in your career.”
Harvard Business Review: The Case For Hiring Older Workers
Countless individuals in their 60s and 70s are actively engaged with their careers, and certain to avoid retirement. At 89, Warren Buffett is still regarded as one of the most brilliant brains in the world of finance, and Charlie Munger, his righthand man, is 95. At 61, Madonna is the undisputed queen of pop. At 81, Jane Fonda is as prolific as ever in her careers as an actress and activist. In addition, the most important job in the U.S. goes to people who would generally be considered “too old” to be productive in most offices. Only two presidents ended their tenure under the age of 50 (and one of them was JFK). The other 43 were 50 or older, including 22 aged 60 or older.
All this suggests that age does correspond with workplace wisdom, and research proves it. Contrary to popular belief, older, more tenured people are more successful entrepreneurs. Those over the age of 40 are three times more likely to create successful companies as a result of their patient, collaborative natures, and their lack of a “need to prove myself” attitude that tends to accompany youth.
Seattle Times: Ageism is Real. Whatever You Do, Don’t Internalize it:
“Being 44 years old is awesome: You’re a grown-up. In addition to all your education and smarts, you have 20 years’ of experience under your belt,” I said. “And this starts to look like wisdom as we get older.”
Have a great weekend!
One thing I LOVED when I was 18 and transitioning into “adulthood”: leaving my K-12 school days behind me and their rigid, (practically) full day schedule.
Not that I had a horrible school experience. I was just extremely grateful when I went to college and could time my classes when I wanted. I’ll never forget the feeling of that first fall semester in college, when I realized I wasn’t in school from about 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM every day. There was a sense of freedom. I had time to work my job, study throughout the day, and run errands at (gasp) 1:00 in the afternoon. It was so liberating. Time felt like it was more on my side. And I certainly embraced it.
Not to mention, I felt SO adult.
Even today I see school kids and am so grateful that part of my life is over. I don’t envy them. Sure, I miss things about that time period, but the pleasure of a more open schedule, while somewhat silly in the grand scheme of things, truly helped me enjoy growing older.
I think it’s important that we not forget those moments in life when change was good, and we embraced it. And boy did I embrace my more flexible schedule..
...until I got my first 8-5 job! 😊
What about you?
What have you been happy to "leave behind"?
I love reading your comments below!
I remember one week our living room was three different paint colors. I was a teenager at the time. We had just gotten a new couch, and my Mom, being extremely artistic, wanted to get the right match that would harmonize the look of our family area. When the newest coat of paint went up, my Mom declared it was not “right.” So, she proceeded to buy more paint and give it another go, because that’s how my Mom is. She taught me the importance of going back and getting what I want and making it right, no matter how seemingly insignificant “it” is. (Obviously, within reason. We clearly have restraints on our time and resources.)
Her desire is to be proactive, even about the details. Even if it involves retracing my steps and doing something again.
I’d come home tired from a full day of clothing shopping (which any gal knows can be challenging and discouraging) only to realize I should have gotten those black pants that were on sale. Without hesitating, my Mom would help me plan a trip back to the store, even getting up early with me so we could get to the doors right as they opened.
Walls and pants are minor, but my Mom even carried this attitude with the more important things in life. When she said something she regretted, she didn’t just chalk it up as over and done. She would make a point to sit down with me and explain why she said what she said, and what she should have said instead. You can’t erase what you say, but you can try, and my Mom was determined to do so.
Her attitude grew into me as I grew older. With age comes more knowledge and therefore more ability to have a “do over.” I think that it’s beneficial that as we get older, we don’t stay passive, but recognize that when we have the power to change even the little things, we should. Because our life is made up of the little things, is it not?
And as my Mom demonstrated to me, our life is worth it.
What about you?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
I love hearing from you!
A trio of links to “link” you to other voices that are reflecting on aging!
Join me as I drink in some other thoughts about aging. We may or may not agree with what is said in the articles below, but I’ve found the words provide plenty of food for thought and can give really great encouragement. (I've also pulled out quotes from each article that really resonate with me.)
The first two links are more current (within the last month), and the last link is what I affectionately call an “oldie but goodie”: an older article I think warrants a read.
What Jennifer Lopez Said About Aging Deserves a Round of Applause – Here’s Why:
“For me, it was important,” she said. “It was important as a woman to do that; to let people know that you don’t get to write women off at a certain point in their life. You don’t get to write people off.” She continued, “I didn’t realize that in just being myself and being unafraid to say that to the world: ‘I’m a woman, I’m 50 years old, and I’m here and I’m not going anywhere,’ was going to mean so much to so many people.”
21 Things I’d Tell My Younger Self:
Drink lots of water and moisturize. Water is life and the more you learn to love drinking it, the better you’ll feel. In addition to preventing your skin from aging too quickly.
What Is So Good About Growing Old?
This may be news to people who equate being old with being sad and alone, but it fits with a body of work by Laura Carstensen, a psychologist at Stanford. She led a study that followed people ages 18 to 94 for a decade and found that they got happier and their emotions bounced around less. Such studies reveal that negative emotions such as sadness, anger and fear become less pronounced than in our drama-filled younger years.
I’ve had to drink a big ole cup of truth about myself. Those things other people do that annoy me? I do as well.
This horrible realization was made VERY clear to me the other day when I answered my door to pick up a delivery. As an American who lives in the United Kingdom, I hear the accents all day long, especially the word “Brilliant!” When I took the item from the gal doing the delivery, I was extremely pleased, and I said the first thing that popped into my mind: “It’s brilliant!”
I closed the door and I groaned inwardly. Seriously Gina? All I could think of was the Friends episode where Monica and Rachel’s American pal comes back from England and annoys them all with her overly exaggerated/fake English accent. I know people in real life like her. I’ve been known to judge people like her.
So, I defended myself, to myself (a little weird, I know). Why did I say that word?
I really think it’s because I hear it so often. I think also because I’ve noticed my English neighbors don’t use the same small talk words that I use, so I feel self-conscious and try to blend in and borrow their words. I wasn’t just suddenly ‘fancying’ myself British while making an embarrassing attempt at a British accent.
As I’ve gotten older, I’m less judgmental, but apparently a little of it is still alive and well and doing the tango. Unfortunately, it takes my own mishaps to help me understand why people do what they do - AND even more humbling, the very things that annoy the living daylights out of me.
What about you?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
I love hearing from you!
Why can “older” people be so hard on themselves and those younger than them? Growing up, I heard the following:
“Enjoy it now, while you don’t have to worry about cholesterol.”
“Wait until you are older, and your joints don’t work anymore either.”
“Well, you’re young so that dress looks good on you now. Wait until you are my age.”
They left me with the uneasy feeling that in my delicate state, I was somehow superior to the messenger, but I wouldn’t be for long.
Where I think these bitter people went terribly wrong was how they coped with truth of aging: it’s hard. However, instead of pushing forward with a positive mindset, they felt miserable and wanted to ensure others did too. Misery loves company. Or maybe they felt a sense of justice because aging is, in a way, an equalizer.
To be fair, they did convey some truth: unless we die, we all grow older. It’s just the cycle of life. We will ALL face aging and its consequences (whatever they may be). We can take comfort in the fact that we are not alone in getting older.
However, we wouldn’t look at a little one and say with a snarl, “You are inevitably going to get your heart broken. You just wait for it!” How awful! Instead, we might gently take her hand and explain to her that there is pain in life, but it can be overcome and help turn her into a stronger, better person.
And this is exactly how we should talk about aging to ourselves and others: acknowledging the negative but balancing it out with the positive. If not, we sound bitter and unhappy and try to pull others down with ourselves. And no matter how we face it, we still grow older. So let’s do it positively and proudly.
Creator of Love, Auntie.