Friday, May 12, 2017

Reverse Ageism

Today is the oldest you've ever been and
the youngest you'll ever be again.

I attended a presentation: “The best three months of your life.” Present were recently trained coaches in this process who needed volunteers with whom to practice. As an older woman shared her experience about her training, I volunteered to be her 'recruit.' She didn't respond to my offer. Shortly thereafter the meeting ended.

As I was leaving, a young women approached me indicating she was a recent trainee and would be open to working with me. Rather than censoring myself, I responded with: “I'm dealing with my own aging and I don't know how I feel working with someone so young.” Ouch....

She left before I fully took in what I had so inappropriately said. As I drove home, I realized how unkind my words were. In fact, it was 100% ageist! Ageism does not only impacts us olders but impacts young people as well.

Recently, while enrolled in an acting class my scene partner was a millennial. We rehearsed first at my home. We then decided we would next meet at his home. Knowing I still had a flip phone with no GPS, he asked: “How will you find my place without a GPS?” I responded: “Well, gee, Richard, you're going to give me directions.”

When next we met, he reminded me of this and said: “You probably thought I was just one of those entitled, techno-narcissistic millennials.” Ageism -- once again...

New awarenesses to embrace: 1. In addition to my internalized ageism; I have ageist attitudes toward the young with which to deal; 2. While I admire my directness, developing the muscle of self-censorship might serve me well...


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