I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about “ageism” lately. Does it exist? Probably. Age discrimination in the legal context does. It’s against the law to discriminate against a person in a hiring situation solely because of age. Except for athletes, of course. They get put out to pasture in their 30s, and it’s OK.
But that’s the legal connotation. One of the definitions of Ageism in Webster’s New World Dictionary – Second College Edition is “prejudicial stereotyping of older people”. You know, holding the door for older people, helping older neighbors shovel snow, giving an older person a seat on the Metro, and similar courtesies.
The AARP wants to categorize Seniors as a “Special interest”; and put a label on that category. And then they proceed to rail about ageism. They claim we are “stereotyped”. I remember the old saying that when you label or categorize someone, you diminish them. I don’t want other people diminishing me.
I prefer the term from the same dictionary: “Ageless”. Meaning “Seemingly not growing older. Eternal.” Hmm, much better!
In many cases, ageism is a matter of perception, ours and others. If we perceive ourselves as aging, we have the ability to change our Mindset. If others perceive us as old, we can change their mindset. We can make a point to stand up straighter, move a little faster, lose or gain weight as needed, and tone up our muscles. We’ll look younger and act younger if we do.
By the same token, if you perceive yourself to be old, and you don’t do anything about it, how can others not perceive you the same way, as old. Before we get upset about the way others treat us as we get older, maybe we should take a close look at the way we treat ourselves.
The best thing we can do to prevent ageism is not to let ourselves fall into the stereotype that ageism seems to reflect.
The reality is that as we get older, some are simply not able to do all the things that they were able to do at a younger age. But there’s another reality, and that is that many of us have more energy and a better attitude toward life than many of our younger brothers and sisters. Look around you and you’ll see what I mean.
Personally, I like Senior discounts, Senior movies, Senior coffee, etc. I enjoy reading the “Pickles” cartoon in the newspaper, and I laugh at jokes about Seniors. But that’s “ageism” isn’t it?”
Does ageism exist? Of course it does. Do you have to be a victim? Of course not. You can choose to perceive yourself to be a “victim” of ageism and be offended, or you can enjoy and laugh at the “ageist” Senior Jokes and cartoons. It’s a Mindset. It’s all in the way you’re thinking.
Thank you for reading.