~ How Do We Combat Ageism - Are We the Problem?

8th January 2020

Today there are many vibrant women and men of all ages. Very different to say sixty years ago. Females over the age of fifty, usually, though not always, were thought of and indeed often played the part of the “old” lady, ex career, if she had one, not into fashion and keeping fit. The gym, yoga or even walking wasn’t generally in fashion. What a difference today! Of course many men are victims of ageism it isn’t just a female condition! Men get overlooked in the workforce. What a pity, all that experience wasted.

Many people are now working well into their seventies or in the case of my amazing MIL into her eighties – by choice and not necessity, though the latter may be true in some cases. Age is not relevant…well it needn’t be.

Unfortunately though some things haven’t changed and the workplace in particular hasn’t kept up. Hang on though, aren’t we the workforce? Could we be the cause of such ageism? We are often the employers. How do we treat “persons of a certain age”, what a condescending phrase that is! Do we judge others by their age? This point is worth our reflection. BEWARE ! If we are lucky and survive we will soon be the people that are discriminated against!

We get a lot of press about not defining who we are by what we do. I disagree. What we do does define us to a certain extent and why not? Unless, we are not happy with how we spend our time. In this case we don’t wish to be defined by it! The same could be said about age or could it. Are we defined by our age and do we define others by it. How do we get away from this? Surely experience and knowledge are far more important than age? There is a difference between choosing fitness and aiming to be healthy and vibrant at whatever age over worrying about getting older in a negative way. For example using risky cosmetic procedures, dieting excessively to name a couple of extremes in order to appear younger than we are. We may justify the latter because it appears harder to get employment as we age. One way to combat this is to become ageless. Unless there is very good reason to give your age why bother. Will it make you better or worse – obviously it is immaterial. What matters is who and how you see yourself. Do you see a knowledgeable, experienced and delightful person to be around? If you do, congratulate yourself. If not, then understand that we have a choice and we can become the person we want to be! It really is up to us. The saying “be the change you want to see” will see ageism thrown in the bin where it belongs!

Alex Roberts