age·ism

noun

prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a person’s age.

As he examined my skin, the dermatologist asked what I did for work.
“Babysit,” I said.
“What a nice Grandma you are!” he responded.
I don’t blame him for assuming I am a Grandma. All the signs are there: the age of my skin, the gray hairs, my date of birth in my chart.

Self-Inflicted Age-ism.

Most women might my age might look at this situation in some sort of negative light. You know, it’s one of transition times in a person’s life: they go from tween to teen; from teen to adult; from adult to parent; parent to grandparent. It’s a natural transition, but we have been taught to look (kinda) negative at the transition from being a parent to a grandparent.
When people my age tell others that their children have children a common response is

judith-levy-grandma-quote-1521662248
Copyright: CountryLiving

“But you don’t look old enough!” it’s often taken with an “ouch” but it’s meant as a compliment and I’d be happy to take it as such. People are only trying to be kind.

Why, though, do we find it necessary to tell people 50+ they look great “for their age” or tell them they “don’t look their age at all?”
Why oh why do we feel it necessary to lie about our age, or worse, demure it to some vague, expansive age group,like, 50+?
We’ve internalized the idea that it is somehow shameful to be old. That we’ve lost significance once we’ve lost our youth.
We say:
50 is the new 40
40 is the new 30
30 is the new 20
What a load of garbage that is. When I was 19, my boyfriend was killed in a freak accident. What he wouldn’t give to live to be my age now, I’m sure.

The Alternative To Age Isn’t Youth. It’s Death.

I don’t want to curve my age down.
I’m 53 and dadgummed happy to be 53. And when I turn 54 in February, I will be dadgummed happy to be 54.
Consider the alternative.
I’ve got mileage and I am damned happy about it.
I’ve done smart things. I’ve done stupid things. But most of all, I’ve learned the difference between the two.  That can only come with age and experience. I wouldn’t wish away this wisdom for all the youth in the world.  It’s a blessing to grow older and wiser.
Consider the alternative.
God bless this Dermatologist for looking at all the facts and being bold enough to state the truth:
Kim Thompsen, you are old enough to be someone’s Grandma.
And I am really okay with that.
Consider the alternative.

One thought on “Age-ism: Consider the Alternative

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