Recently, I called my local automobile association because the battery in my car was dead. I’d called twice before in November. This third time the operator asked for my date of birth. Immediately a red flag went up in my mind. My age was going to be held against me and I resented it.
Ageism is particularly strong in the United States, which is ironic because the numbers of our elderly are increasing. We have science to thank for that. Its discoveries are keeping us alive and healthier longer than at any other time in human history. What’s more, we’re happier. 41 percent of the 50-plus group are optimistic about getting older. (“What to Expect in your 70s and Beyond,” by Beth Howard, AARP, The Magazine, 11/12/12 pg, 57).
While seniors are adapting to increased years of productivity, the younger generations haven’t taken any notice, an attitude that Baby Boomers, who have dominated American trends for decades, will soon discover. Perhaps it’s time for a dialogue between young and old so we can rethink stereotypes. What is old age, anyway? A recent report from Oregon State University found that shopping, being able to buy groceries and to care for one’s household is good evidence that an older person may be younger than his or her biological years. (Yahoonews. 11/14/12) Maybe we should stop obsessing about biological years.
If we old folks can reimagine ourselves, we’ll be doing the younger generations a favor. Everyone ages. We all have that in common. And no one likes being marginalized. We have that in common, too. Don’t ask me how old I am. Ask me how young I feel.
(Courtesy of mrjam.typepad.com)