Self-Discovery – I’m Old


I woke up one morning twenty-nine years ago to an identity trauma – who was that middle-aged woman staring at me from my mirror?

The strangest part of the mid-life crisis is that it doesn’t creep up bit-by-bit allowing itself to be integrated gently. No. It slams, shocks, knocks upside the head with a stunning force that shouts: You’re old.

Until that morning I felt vibrant and sexy, very much alive. I hadn’t given aging a passing thought. That stymies me even now. How could I not have seen it coming? Proof of the process is everywhere – parents age, siblings age, movie stars age – my own children were aging. I had to have known that I wouldn’t escape the inevitable. Yet the shock of it flattened me.

Today a similar jolt brought me up short. It was a thought that loomed at the edge of other thoughts. It had dark borders and felt ominous so I ignored it as long as I could. When it saw it’s chance, it sprang and the impact of its message pierced me with slivers of dread.

Questions swirled. At what point will I no longer be taken seriously? When will my opinion be brushed over, my suggestions ignored, my point of view deemed irrelevant simply because others assume I’ve exceeded my use-by date?

I’m not talking about dementia or Alzheimers. People with those afflictions often lose their ability to think logically or communicate well. My concern is ageism – the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of age alone. It hadn’t concerned me before. But as the idea wormed into my headspace today it felt just like that morning twenty-nine years ago when I saw myself for the first time at the far end of youth.

It has me thinking about how much I appreciate my deductive reasoning abilities. I enjoy having my words respected and my advice sought. I relish intelligent commentary, debate, and the rare witty comeback that I pull out of somewhere! I don’t want to be marginalized and set to boil dry on the back burner. Death would be preferable.

Why isn’t there an outcry against ageism in the media like there is for racism and sexism and gender bias? Why is discrimination on the basis of age accepted as normal? Possibly because it’s so commonplace. It’s such an automatic response that we’re unaware we’re doing it. I’m guilty. I’ve discounted the abilities of the elderly based solely on their white heads, but never again.

The realization has dawned that this kind of stereotyping could become my personal reality. That’s terrifying. Fortunately for me, I live in Bali where the culture honors oldies. If I hang exclusively with my Balinese friends I’m safe!

Seriously though, it’s time to rally. Babyboomers are 60 million strong. If we join forces and speak out against ageism, I guarantee we’ll be heard – white hair and all.

Advertisements

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. barbparcellswritingalife
    Mar 20, 2019 @ 03:25:57

    This has been my battle cry for the last 6 or 7 years. I have written on this subject via my blogs and ebooks and agree that this deserves more attention. Boomers are mighty in number and can change the way we think about aging in this country just like we changed the culture 50 years ago!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. sageblessings
    Mar 22, 2019 @ 20:36:50

    Hmmmm tried to comment on this as usual but page just kept popping up/down and no ability to write/type. Sorry.

    I do recall feeling this way from time to time some years back. Now I don’t notice and pretty much surround myself with people who do see me. It’s all good.

    Interestingly, in SMA, I felt very seen. Maybe it was because many of the people are in a similar age bracket, are informed, adventurous, intelligent, creative and smart enough to see beyond exteriors of age, etc. One of the joys for me of wintering there.

    S

    On Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 9:51 AM writing for self-discovery wrote:

    > writingforselfdiscovery posted: ” I woke up one morning twenty-nine years > ago to an identity trauma – who was that middle-aged woman staring at me > from my mirror? The strangest part of the mid-life crisis is that it > doesn’t creep up bit-by-bit allowing itself to be integrated gen” >

    Like

    Reply

  3. Marilea
    Apr 01, 2019 @ 06:37:46

    aarp HAD a recent article that was very positive about our age group..claiming that many companies don’t know how they will fill positions when the baby boomers actually do retire.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. writingforselfdiscovery
    Apr 02, 2019 @ 10:16:09

    That’s a good point. We are a huge segment of the population.

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: