A subscriber once suggested that In every edition of the newsletter, “You need to start with making a passionate statement about what you believe and why you are doing it.” What a great suggestion!
So, what am I passionate about when it comes to aging?
I am passionate about ignoring chronological age and living my perceived age instead.
I am passionate about eliminating age as a tool to discriminate – an evil still very much with us. Currently, there is an ongoing debate about Biden’s age. Common thinking says he is too old to be president. Let’s stop talking about his age and start dealing with reality. His age has little to nothing to do with his apparent incompetence. Chronological age cannot do anything except keep track of dates of events in our lives. It doesn’t control or influence our mental or physical capacity. (Of course, you don’t believe that. The outdated culture tells you advanced age is synonymous with decline. Aaaaargh!)
I am passionate about transforming traditional retirement from a period of decline and wasted potential into a fulfilling stage of life driven by the power and wisdom of maturity and ongoing engagement in seamless, productive growth.
I am passionate about promoting women’s incredible strength but often don’t use it because they are not encouraged to do so by a culture that has not caught up with reality.
I am passionate about helping women avoid becoming little old ladies.
You don’t have to become a little old lady. And for the record, little old lady-ness has nothing to do with gray hair and wrinkles or if you weigh more (or less) than you did 25 years ago.
“Little Old Lady” is not a nice term. It can even be offensive and is usually used to demean an older woman. It’s common for the news media to identify a 75-year-old woman as “elderly.” “Little Old Lady” is a term that probably should never be used, but let’s deal with reality. We all recognize a typical little old lady when we see one. And when we do, we should resolve that “It’s not going to be me.”
How do you avoid becoming a little old lady?
There are many ways, but avoidance starts in your head. It begins with overhauling your stereotypical thinking about what you consider “old.” It means you exchange fixed thinking that “this is all I can do or should do” because of my age and exchange it for “I can do anything” thinking. Typical Little old ladies are passive “acceptors.” Ageless women are like perennial flowers. They constantly bloom and put forth new growth.
In her blockbuster book, “Bold Retirement,” author Mary Lloyd comments on oldness: “‘Old’ is not a pretty picture – wrinkled, rumpled, slow, stupid, easy to anger and insistent on our own petty needs. Greedy. By the way. Is that you? Sure as hell isn’t me.”
Sure as hell, it doesn’t have to be you or me!
You avoid becoming a little old lady by deciding, at least by age 40, that you will not buy into the prevailing senior culture, which is a culture of decline and decay. Avoidance must be a conscious decision, or else you will be sucked into a lifestyle that will define how you ought to live and think and how you ought to be as a “senior.” Little contributes more to little old lady-ness development than the conformist senior culture conformity.
At age 40, you devise a plan that will help you grow, stay productive, and facilitate the realization of your full potential as long as you live. That means you will not choose a lifestyle that focuses on life as a pastime. You will engage in a lifestyle that has meaning and purpose with some angst thrown in. All stress is not harmful. When stress helps you grow, it has value.
Once you reach maturity, what happens is largely up to you. I say “largely” because you do not completely control your life. The unexpected happens. It’s how you deal with the unexpected that matters. You can be a bloomer as long as you live, and no matter what happens, you can incorporate that growth mentality into the way you live your life.
One of my favorite role models is Dr. Helen Harkness. For inspiration, get a copy of her genius work, “Don’t Stop the Career Clock.” Her thinking is profound and unique, and I guarantee it will help you be an ageless bloomer instead of a little old lady. Dr. Harkness laid out her chronology to help avoid premature decline in her book. Here it is:
Young adulthood 20-40
First midlife 40-60
Second midlife 60-80
Elderly 90 and above
I disagree with her belief that 90 and above means elderly. I would call this a period of “Elder growth.”
Author Mary Lloyd is a great role model. You must read her “smack on the side of the head” book, “Bold Retirement.” Her wit and wisdom are piercing and memorable. It will turn your thinking upside down and, possibly, inside out. You need it to help you avoid becoming that dreaded Little Old Lady.
Determination is powerful. I live with it every day. A person may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but with moderate intelligence and a boatload of determination, it’s possible to have the desired payoff. It doesn’t appear magically; you have to work for it. The human condition prefers ease over effort. But it’s just as easy to say “I can” or “I will” as it is to say “it can’t be done.” It’s a matter of determination.