For many people, including me, getting older happens to other people.
But as someone who recently turned fifty-two, I’m beginning to realize that it can happen to me.
I’m not upset with the idea, but it made me think.
I am more concerned about my health than before and take stock more than before.
If I really want to be a better person or leave a legacy beyond my ability to consume baked goods, I need to improve my game. I can no longer rely on time because I clearly have less of it than I did 10 years ago.
I’m thrilled with the challenge that age gracefully Gifts, but I don’t understand everyone feels that way. For some, the very thought of becoming 50 (or even 40) causes them to break out in beehives.
This is understandable when you consider how we are constantly bombarded with “Younger is Better” messages from the media, social media, films and even in our homes.
The thing is, getting older is actually a lot of fun. Granted, you have to be in good health to really appreciate the years, but that applies to all ages.
If you’re looking for it, you have to ask Google.
But what each of these conversations will do is inspire you to take a different perspective on aging. If nothing else. They show that you are not near your expiration date.
1. How I became an entrepreneur at 66 by Paul Tasner
Paul Tasner proved that it is never too late to reinvent himself and waited until the mature age of 66 to start his own startup. Paul worked for someone else for 40 years, but thanks to his dismissal (though it didn’t seem like good news at the time), he decided to take a risk for himself and start his own business. Now in the seventh year PulpWorks, Inc. goes from strength to strength to form a better world.
2. Older people are happier by Laura Carstensen
As director of Stanford Center for Longevity Laura Carstensen, who has been deeply concerned with the effects of wellbeing over longer lifetimes, knows a thing or two about what makes older people tick.
In previous centuries, the average human life span was significantly shorter, but did the extra years we now enjoy improve our quality of life? It turns out that the answer is an emphatic “yes!” Is. Research shows that older people are happier, happier and more positive in the world.
That certainly applies to Sporty and me.
3. The third act of Jane Fonda’s life
In their insightful conversation Jane Fonda – who turned eighty-two in December – has some wonderful ideas on how we can best use the additional 30 years that have contributed to our life expectancy. As she rightly says, these years are not just a footnote. We have to re-imagine this new phase of our lives and really make it mean something.
We still live with the old paradigm of age as a bow: you are born, reach the climax in the middle of your life and then fall into decay. Jane believes that a more appropriate metaphor for aging is a staircase: the ascent of the human mind that brings us in wisdom, wholeness and authenticity.
4. Let’s end Ashton Applewhite’s ageism
Ashton Applewhite wants us to think differently about getting older. We have to question the assumption that older people are the same and that aging impoverishes us. As she rightly emphasizes, aging is a natural, lifelong, powerful process that connects us all.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t see aging that way. Instead, we rashly assume that it has depression, diapers, and dementia. This attitude is due to alterism, which, according to Ashton, is the last socially sanctioned prejudice.
Given what we see in the media every day, it’s hard to argue with her.
Ashton wants to catalyze a movement to make age discrimination as unacceptable as any other type. She has written a book called This chair rocks if you want to learn more.
5. 12 truths I learned from the life and writing of Anne Lamott
A few days before her 61st birthday, writer Anne Lamott decided to write down everything she knew for sure. She says that there is so little truth in popular culture that it is good to be certain of a few things.
Anne reminds us that our inner self is outside of time and space. It has no age, but we are in every age we have ever been. Anne’s lecture is funny, poignant, wise and down to earth, and her truths are proof that wisdom goes hand in hand with age. A lot of it.
Additional bonus: what I’ve learned from 2,000 Lux Narayan obituaries
Although it’s not specifically about aging, I added Lux Narayan’s talk as an added bonus as he is a strong reminder of what a good life means. The founder of Unmetric The day begins with scrambled eggs and the question: Who died today
Why? Because aHe rightly points out that the front of the newspaper is largely filled with bad news that highlights human error. While the end of the paper – the obituaries – highlights human accomplishments.
Over a period of 20 months, Narayan analyzed 2,000 obituaries in the New York Times and, in a few words, found what success would look like in his life. It turns out that those immortalized in print can teach us a lot about living a good life.
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