We B*tch About an Ageism Culture But We Also Contribute To It

Pinnacle Personnel Services LLC  |  Debbie Hatch

We can be our own worst enemy. In my lifting circle so many women finish their accomplishments by putting in a qualifier.

Not bad! PERIOD.  

Looking good. PERIOD.  

We bitch about an ageism culture but we contribute to it. We give each other “over the hill” birthday cards. We mourn our 40th, 50th, 60th, etc., birthdays with black banners and canes.  When we’re tired or don’t want to try something new we say, “I’m too old…”

When we aren’t so tired, do try something new, or keep doing what we’ve always done, we say things like, “Wow.  you’re doing great for xx years young.”

One quarter of a century

On the left I was 29 years OLD. Yes, I had braces. I’ve always been a late bloomer.

On the right I am 55 years OLD. Old.  Not 55 years young.  It’s a pet peeve but, really, I was 5, 15, and 25 years old.  At what point do we change “old” to “young” and by doing so, aren’t we just indicating that we truly aren’t that young any more?  Doesn’t that make it seem like health, mobility, strength, and energy are attributes that belong solely to our youth?

Yes, I see the grey hairs and wrinkles brought on by my age.  I’m not thrilled.  Yes, I now wear glasses.  Ugh.  But I’m also stronger and in better shape than I’ve ever been. I’m definitely more confident. I know who I am and what I stand for.

If we consider 40 to be “old” (and for some, that threshold has been lowered to 30 already), let’s consider what can, and in fact IS being done in the decades that follow.

Personally, I started my own business at 40, and (while I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 17), I bought my first chopper.  I was over 40 before I traveled overseas, alone, for the first time.

Started riding dirtbikes at 43, and added a second business at 46. I competed in my first bodybuilding competition at 48 and my last at 50.  Also earned my Master’s Degree at 48, and did the Memorial Bataan Death March marathon at 50 (carrying a 52 pound rucksack). I started powerlifting at 52 and, at 54 set 4 national records with the United Powerlifting Association.

I know it’s not just me.  When I posted this on my Facebook page, and in a couple of online groups, here are just a few of the things I heard about.

  • “I started businesses, went back to a corporate job, quit the corporate job to be an entrepreneur again. Became a certified Pilates instructor. Went back to school and got my Real Estate license while working full time and now I just started my book coaching business and launched my YOUTUBE channel…for entrepreneurs who want to learn how to write a book. I’m also a published author.”
  • “Published as a photographer multiple times, 41-45 years old. Got my history degree at 47. Set six state records at 49, went to nationals.”
  • “Two degrees at 44 and 49, retired from one career. Went back to school and got two more degrees for another career. Started Crossfit at age 66.”
  • “Since age 54 I’ve taken up powerlifting, have completed my Cert III IV in fitness, have competed in 6 comps, have deadlifted almost twice my body weight and am enjoying my life being stronger and more confident.”
  • “I left a job of 16 years to teach at a technical college. I quit smoking, started CrossFit and leaned out. I traveled to 15 countries. Added a photography degree to my resume and started a business.”
  • “At 60, I changed careers moving from working as a geoscientist in the energy industry to becoming an expert in technology focused on the aging population and policy directed at improving the lives of older people.”

From bodybuilders to doctoral candidates, you are not too old and it’s not too late.  Retirement definitely doesn’t have to be the end.  It can be the beginning of a whole new chapter.

Life has no age limit and I’m definitely growing bolder.  I would absolutely love to hear about your 40+ accomplishments.

My retirement triad includes:

Health.     Wealth.     Personal fulfillment.

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