Tag Archives: ageism

Push Back

“We’ve all seen the television commercials, read the articles, or watched the movies in which society tries to tell us that people our age only have two options: become pathetic, useless individuals living in a shell of our former selves OR we must cover our wrinkles, refuse to retire, and become motorcycle-riding thrill seekers. Neither extreme scenario is necessary for us to get the most from life after 60.”-sixtyandme.com

Listening to the negative messages could take years off your life and it does make you feel worse because we internalize it.

We are all going to be old and we have a choice in the way we think about it, the way we think about ourselves. And there are as many ways to be as there are people. We do not have to be one extreme or the other.

One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image of older couple by Erika Wittlieb on Pixabay.com



What is Old?

The Changing Definition of a Full Life by Luke Yoquinto and Joseph Coughlin in The Atlantic and other articles like When Did I Get Old by Alice Fisher M.A. M.S.W. on her blog The Radical Age Movement really resonate with my own thinking and experience. Both articles are asking the questions, How old is old? What does old look like nowadays? How do we treat those we consider old?

I am actively seeking out more articles like these because I think this topic is long overdue for discussion. In the first article the authors discuss how people in their late sixties are not really “old” these days. They use the example of David Bowie and how his death, at 69,  was viewed as coming too soon and that he was still very active as an artist right up to his death.

In the second post from Alice Fisher, she writes about a discussion with a friend. She and her friend, Karen, are both 70. They talk about how they are treated differently by people and feel old when they internalize the negative messages and stereotypes in society and in the media. This can be dangerous, Fisher says, because when people internalize the negative messages it can affect their health and longevity. She continues and cites a study:

“We are segregated.  We are marginalized.  We are oppressed.  And all this can easily become internalized as feelings of worthlessness.  Becca Levy, Ph.D., a psychologist and doctor at Yale University, has done quite a bit of research in this area.  Her results demonstrate that older people who are subject to negative stereotypes of ‘old’ are not only mentally but also physically less resilient than those who see ‘old’ as a positive stage of life.  Older people who internalize the negative stereotypes are more likely to shorten their life span.”

There was a part of Fisher’s post that really struck a cord with me. Her friend Karen says that,  “when I’m doing something that requires the least amount of physical agility, there is always someone who wants to help me even though I’m capable of doing it myself.” I felt like laughing because I recognized this as an experience I had at my yoga class. A woman kept helping me put away my yoga props after class. It started to make me feel uncomfortable. I finally said to her one day, “Why do you keep helping me, do I look disabled or something?” She really made me uncomfortable and I thought to myself, ” Do I look 100?” Then I thought maybe I am being too sensitive and now she thinks I am nuts. But after reading this post by Alice Fisher, I am thinking I was right in my interpretation.

I think the stereotyping and negative messages can make us less resilient because it wears us down. You are often confronted with it when out in society ( and at yoga class) and feel you must shield yourself against this onslaught.

I do think things will be changing but it is hard to have to live through the transition. And I really don’t want my longevity cut short by this stuff.

Don’t Egg Me On

“Don’t egg me on,” which means don’t get me started, don’t encourage me to do or say something. I can really get on my soapbox on several issues. Many times it is something I read in the online political and news sites that can set me off. One of my annual beefs is Daylight Savings Time. When my husband announced it was DST starting again this past weekend, I said, “Oh no, it’s not starting already? It seems like Standard Time is over so soon!” Actually, Standard Time is shorter since 2005 in the US when DST was extended by 5 weeks. It used to be from May to October and then our government, in their great wisdom, extended it from March to November. Now my excellent state of California is trying to abolish DST in California. Please make it happen! It turns out DST leads to more heart attacks, strokes and car accidents and doesn’t really save more energy. And our bodies do not really adjust to it. It just adds more stress.


And another thing:

I do a lot of reading about issues facing my generation. A big one is ageism and how it has impacted people’s lives. It is not just that you have to suffer society’s negative stereotypes and attitudes, it affects your ability to hold on to your job and to find employment. There are so many articles written advising people about jobs that may be open to them or suited to their situation, and stage in life. A popular recommendation is about “gigs,” or short term, part-time, temp work that does not offer benefits.

original The New Gig

I have seen this recommendation more than once when reading about jobs for older people, drive for Uber. I wonder how many older women would want to drive a taxi. Actually, you use your own car which could be another headache. It seems that there would be more wear and tear on the car and greater chance of accidents,( especially if it is during DST.) So there goes your insurance rates. It would be pretty stressful in an urban area unless you like the challenge of driving crowded freeways and city streets with all the crazy drivers. It would be nice if job suggestions were in touch with reality.


This post is my contribution to Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is “egg.”

Taxi image by Pixabay.com used to make this cartoon  Angel and Egg image by Pixabay too.

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I Wasn’t Invited to the Ball

I don’t know what happened. I expected to get it in the mail. Where is my invitation to the ball? I get one every year. What has changed? I know I am no longer the ingénue or the belle. Those years are long gone. But I still love to dance and am very skilled in all the steps. I am good at making witty repartee. I would not be a dull partner. Where is my invitation? I noticed that my gentleman neighbor received his invitation and told me he is getting his evening attire out of storage. He doesn’t even know all the dances that I do but it seems he is a more desirable partner. I asked my older woman friend if she got her invitation yet. She told me in a whisper that I should be aware that women of a certain age are invisible to society and must exit the social scene quietly. For heaven sake, don’t make a fuss. Accept the fate assigned to you. Don’t rock the boat. Take up feeding the birds or gardening.


If your over 5o and even starting as early as 35 your prospects of finding a job diminish as you get older. Think this is a fairytale? Watch the PBS video below. Ageism is alive and well. Especially for women. I know it happened to me. From Harvard Business Review, Older Women are Being Forced Out of the Workforce.


This post is my contribution to Stream Of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image “Too Early” by James Tissot.

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Carmen Herrera Artist at 99

I love reading a blog I subscribe to and get in my Email. It is from EngAGE. It is an organization based in Southern California that has created housing for older adults and runs all kinds of enrichment classes at their complexes. At their North Hollywood complex they have a full theatre available for the residents who can get involved in producing their own plays. In addition they have this uplifting blog to combat ageism. It features older adults doing all kinds of creative things. Senior Planet.org is another organization I love. They often feature similar articles as EngAGE and they discuss issues that impact older adults.

There are so many inspiring stories. One that was sent to me recently from EngAGE was about Carmen Herrera. She is an artist who was “discovered” at age 89 and now at age 99 her work is being featured at a famous museum and gallery. She is still working at age 99. I am sharing this information from the EngAGE blog and other articles about her. Here is one from the Guardian  and another one here. Her art is now to be shown at The Whitney Museum Of American Art and the Lisson Gallery.

When I first read about Carmen Herrera I said fantastic! Here is an artist who is still creating. I love these stories about older people and their spirit to continue to create. Artists, writers, musicians often can all continue practicing their craft as long as they want. This inspires me and I envy them in that they have this wonderful work.

An alarming bit of information came up about women artists. I also get a newsletter from Hyperallergic.com which is about art. I read an essay “The Problem of the Overlooked Female Artist” by Ashton Cooper talking about how women and minority artists for many years were held back by a white male dominated art world. Or at least an art world that only respected white male artists. This is so disheartening to me. I did not realize this was again another field where this discrimination was going full force. Carmen Herrera mentions it in the interview above. How she was denied a show in a gallery because she was a woman. I don’t know how these artists did not completely despair. The essay from Hyperallergic links to several other articles on this topic of “overlooked” women artists. The author suggests the story of these artists lives should be explored in more depth to shine a light on what it was like to face this discrimination and how they coped with it all through the years before they were finally recognized.  Some died before being recognized.

Carmen Herrera via Frederico Seve Gallery:



And from The Smithsonian:




JJJ 2015