I am at an age when I can begin to detect the first creeping effects of age: your habits becoming inflexible, your ideas more deeply entrenched, your personality ossified, until your reflexive reaction to anything new is resistance — I believe the euphemism is “set in your ways.” But I’m still young enough to fight against this encroaching tendency — and it is an ongoing battle,…
I might kindly note here that age itself does not convey these things upon us, we make choices to stop growing, learning and expanding. There is no earthly reason for you or me (at 66) to become dinosaurs. If anything, the moment that you begin to notice that you’re inflexible in your thinking (which you have, which already means you are more self-aware than most) then it’s time to push the hell out of yourself to try new things, read new things, talk to new people. I detect a touch of likely unintended ageism in some of your writing, which is excellent, and as a Boomer I find myself much more aligned with your talking points than those of many of my generation.
But not with the implicit age bias. Age conveys nothing, other than the inevitable wrinkles. Most of the rest is up to us, most especially that of attitude, a youthful way of thinking and being. The rest is pure bullshit, especially the assumptions that any of us has to lose X or be X or descend into X as a result of age. More, it’s the result of stupid choices, especially what we choose to believe and choose to die in a ditch to be right about. Which, in and of itself, is aging.
I always feel a little crunchy when I read stuff that states outright or implies common assumptions about ageing, in particular because if you let these kinds of comments creep into our consciousness they have an ugly habit of becoming thought patterns. There is no reason at all that your thinking or mine should become stale, or that we should become inflexible. Just the opposite can and will be true if we buy into the notion that age=ossification. Not in my world. Nor yours, should you wish it.
SOME, and way too many, in Trump’s generation (which is also mine, by default) are guilty as charged. However there are plenty of Boomers who are not only as horrified as you, but are also very active in dethroning the SOB and all the cronies who could care less about anyone but themselves and their own precious offspring, to whom they are swiftly leaving a steaming pile of shit once called the Earth.
It is so very easy to blanket generalize about generations. When we fall prey to this kind of thinking, we are no better that the Trumpists. The 1% loves it when we blame and attack rather that collaborate and find solutions. So long as we have a handy scapegoat (Immigrants, uppity women, minorities, Boomers, Zs, Millennials, Muslims, name-your- bad-guy) we are losing the war for our collective souls and the shifting sands that we stand on, which is being stolen by the billions of tons for concrete with which to pave over Paradise.
We need to talk, not attack. You’re a smart writer. I would invite you to be slightly more aware of your choice of words and the creep of ageism that appears- at least to my interested eye- in your excellent essay. Including us- and by that I mean everybody- in the conversation about how to move forward gives us all a place, a spot, and the strength to overcome the differences that divide. We all share more than we know. ALL of share the aging process.
The best of those I know who are aging don’t fit what you describe above whatsoever. The challenge is to not perpetuate old conventional wisdom, for you may well grow into that lie yourself. That’s a waste of what you have to offer, just as it also buries the good that so many of us older folks can do and most passionately wish to offer the very important conversation about what’s coming, who’s coming, and what they need.