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transitionsageismReflectionsThe Self

Ageism, Be gone!

By February 10, 20225 Comments

Why do I perk up like a happy fool if someone tells me I look younger than my age?  I quickly get disgusted with myself, but the truth is,  my gut reaction is to respond as if the comment is a deserved and treasured compliment.  Growing up and older in the USA, particularly if you’re a woman, requires a stiff spine.  Any comment that suggests you’ve beaten the high number that is currently attached to you can be viewed as a cause for celebration.  So, Be Aware!  It’s too easy to be sucked in. It’s a slippery slope. I don’t see any benefits in taking the ride.  It’s just not in your best interests!

You don’t have to look far to see youth worship.  It’s all around us.  Advertising is particularly egregious.  I pay a lot less attention than I used to.

As an aging woman, finding “appropriate” clothing can be a burdensome task.  I remember, a few years ago, it was impossible to find s full cut t shirt.  It was bare midriff time.  For some. I left many a shop expressing my anger to a young salesgirl.  “It would be nice to find a t-shirt that’s not only wearable for 13 year olds! ”  I usually had the last word and  made sure I was out the door before they could reply.

The objects of my derision:  Not the models, but the idea that I want to copy the way they dress so as to appear younger.

The Objects of my Derision

…if only!

groundbreaking report released on March 18 and led by the World Health Organization (WHO) calls out ageism for what it is: a socially-acceptable form of discrimination that impacts older people’s livelihoods, health, and even survival.  3/19/22. WHO, Laura Mills

One in two people globally have ageist attitudes about older people.

Human Rights Watch has extensively documented human rights violations against older people, from policies preventing them from accessing pensions in eastern Ukraine to the inappropriate and nonconsensual use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes in the US and Australia. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the cost of longstanding policies that fail to protect older people has become even more clear. A July 2020 report by Claudia Mahler, the United Nations independent expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, found that the pandemic “drastically amplified prevalent ageism.”

Suddenly, or so it seemed, these ageist concerns became relevant.  Is there ANYONE who doesn’t think that 80 is OLD?  Physical features such as eyebrows suddenly become sparse or vanish. A small waistline that had been my pride and joy has decided to leave me and is now surrounded by a few inches of extra flesh.  Women get used to bodily changes.  It’s the way we function.Pregnancy ushers in the most radical changes of all.  The outcome is generally a happy one.  The outcome of an aging body is generally not so happy!

But, so what?  George Harrison crooned “all things must pass.”  What better way to learn the most important of life’s lessons than to have it be a body part?  Score one point for aging.

In all seriousness, I wrote  this blog to help raise awareness of ageism.  It’s a bit too prevalent, in my opinion.  Become aware and speak out against it when you see it.  My experience has been that most people don’t intentionally want to be hurtful.  When it’s pointed out, they’ll likely mend their ways.

The popularity of plastic surgery says a lot about the lack of acceptance of an aging body.

You can keep your head in the sand, if you prefer,but sooner or later, ageism will creep in on you.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

 

 

Dianne Vapnek

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.

5 Comments

  • Martin Ringel says:

    I WAS MOVING WELL AT 80. I’M STILL MOVING OK AT 85. YOU KNOW HOW IMPORTANT TENNIS IS TO ME. I STILL PLAY THREE TIMES A WEEK. I GAVE UP PLAYING DOUBLES BECAUSE OF COVID 19. I JUST RALLY WITH MY PARTNER LIKE THE TIME WE ALL WENT TO THE COURTS IN SANTA BARBARA. THOSE HARD COURTS TAKE THEIR TOLL ON THE BODY. I JUST FEEL BLESSED THAT I HAVE LIVED THIS LONG TO ENJOY THE BEAUTY OF LIFE. I LOOK FORWARD TO EACH DAY. I KEEP IN TOUCH WITH MANY OF MY DEAR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. I DO LIKE AND PREFER LIVING ALONE. I WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO AS LONG AS MY HEALTHY ENOUGH.DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE SMALL STUFF LIKE WRINKLES AND WAISTLINE.

  • Susan Ward says:

    I buy the boy’s or mens t shirts 😊

  • Eleanor says:

    I love ya woman. How well our bodies and our physical attributes served us through our walk towards being elder. You did and continue you to be remarkable

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