Last week, I celebrated my 57th Birthday. I could have used language like turned, marked, reached or hit. Instead, I chose to honor myself and all I have been/done for over five decades.
If my Dad was still with us, I assure you his card would have referred to “57 varieties” in deference to the historical advertising slogan of Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz Company. How hilarious that I actually located an old Heinz 57 label while recently cleaning out kitchen cupboards!
Given how rapidly my 50’s are unfolding, it got me to thinking about how we view such an age at three levels.
One heartening part of attending the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Conference in May was listening to CEO Jo Ann Jenkins’ feisty, vital and authentic message. A Warrior Woman who spoke to my Soul! At the end of her talk, we received buttons like hers: FEARLESS AT __. With relish, people filled in numbers like 80 ½. Kind of like children do when they’re four going on five. As she posed: How old would you be if you didn’t know your age?
Then there was Thomas E. Perez, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor. How refreshing to learn of petitions and movements to combat ageism in corporate America. Did we just hear a spade being called a spade? High time! When I learned from an employed friend that age 45 is considered “old” by companies, I nearly dropped. Thank goodness for progressive organizations who partner with the government to add “mature” workers to their payrolls.
Let’s not forget lovely co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, Robin Roberts with her encouraging theme: “Dream Big, Focus Small”. Poignantly sharing her cancer journey, she called upon all sectors of society to get with it. For instance, if a 25-year-old had problems riding a tricycle, no one would question her ability. So, why is it that car companies still design vehicles without heed for an “aging” population? Try swiveling seats!
Ignited by Jo Ann Jenkins’ call to action, I absolutely plan to rally around any cause that fights seeing people as “washed up” when in their prime. Are you even kidding me???
Did you know someone turning 50 today can expect to see half their lives ahead? I personally plan to live until 120 because there is simply too much positive difference to make in transforming this spinning globe we inhabit to leave even a minute sooner!
Will you join me in profoundly changing up one of these last “ism’s” that need to be eradicated? We’ve made some strides on sexism and racism – though there is clearly GREAT room for further improvement. Trust me ageism is going to be the next frontier.
If interested, I’m here waiting for you at (905) 822-2503 or firstname.lastname@example.org