Redefine Your Age
In our support of the 2018 theme “Engage at Every Age,” we join the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to celebrate Older Americans Month (OAM) to recognize older Americans for their contributions to the nation.
We are redefining every age of our lives. All of us are. Twenty-year-olds today are not where I was at twenty. They are in a very different world. So how can we say that we’re not different from previous generations? Are we a different kind of sixty – or seventy – or eighty-year-old? Yes. We are!
So I’m just hoping for myself and for the women and men around me that we continue learning and growing and reimagining our lives. As long as I’m learning and evolving every day of my life, I will never feel useless or worn out. Never. And I feel in my head and in my heart ageless!
When we use the term anti-aging, we’re subtly reinforcing the message that aging is a condition we need to battle. No, it is a condition we need to embrace! Aging is inevitable for everyone. Age boldly!
Many people are redefining aging by trying new careers, classes, and hobbies.
A former prisoner of war in Japan, John Lowe realized a lifelong ambition when he took up ballet at the age of 79. By the time he approached his 90th birthday, Lowe was dancing professionally, rehearsing at his local dance school three times a week and practicing at home every day to stay in shape.
Negative stereotypes are rampant in our society. We’ve come out of the punk generation and the hippie generation – which was all about societal changes and individualism. And now this aging generation is struggling with a sort of invisibility that society has thrust upon us simply because we are older.
Perceptions are changing though. The more we read about and meet older people making contributions and living joyfully, the more acceptable it will be for older people to remain a part of society. Baby boomers have not seen previous older generations grasp at opportunities, so they have few good role models, We need to start developing some positive role models!
So-called ‘olderpreneurs’ is one place to talk about changing society’s perception of older people. After all, age discrimination does not exist if you are your own boss! The data below is from the Business Insider.
- The highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the United States in the past 10 years has been among 55 to 64 years old.
- More than 1 in 3 new business were started by an entrepreneur over age 50.
- Benjamin Franklin was 76 when he invented the bifocal.
Age Your Way
Many people are redefining aging and embracing their creative passions. Here are some resources provided in celebration of May 2018 Older Americans Month. #OAM18!
Click on this link for a tip sheet for reinventing your life!
Arts and Aging Toolkit for Organizations
Directory of Creative Aging Programs
National Center for Creative Aging
Participating in Activities You Enjoy
National Institute on Aging
Ready for Your Second Career?
Senior Community Service Employment Program
Department of Labor
About the Author: Jean is an Elder Advocate and Eden Alternative Educator with over 30 years’ experience in not-for-profit and for-profit healthcare organizations. She is honored to lead the mission and values culture development for Compass Senior Living in Eugene, Oregon. Jean lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she enjoys the weather and volunteers with the Nevadans for the Common Good, advocating for caregivers and elders in southern Nevada