“You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.”
I came across this video from the AARP (The American Association for Retired Persons) the other day.
It reflects common stereotyping of older people by young people. The short film is made in a fun manner, but I think it reflects a lot of younger people’s notions of the older generation.
I would imagine that this may be particularly true of those younger people who do not have much social contact with anyone they would consider “old.” If you have no real-life experience of a situation, you could be inclined just to imagine it in your head.
But, are they the only ones to think this way?
If our own attitudes as children or young adults have been that as we age, we will become more incapable and less independent. We might think that older people dress or move a certain way, etc., maybe we will be more likely to conform to our own beliefs automatically.
I believe that as we age, this is the time for ourselves! We have a lifetime of wisdom and experiences to draw from; let’s face it, we made it this far. We have as much right to a full life as the younger generation, so let’s make the most of it. Keep learning, do things we like, share our stories and stay mentally young.
Sometimes we come across people who tend to speak for others as if they are not capable of speaking for themselves. Doing tasks and making choices for them when they are quite able to do it (maybe just needing a little extra time, in certain circumstances). This is not helpful when you are trying to preserve independence for as long as possible.
Let’s become more aware and respectful of the older generation. As humans, we are all deserving of respect. We deserve to be seen and treated as individuals, with minds, valid thoughts, and desires of our own without regard to age or other circumstances. Let us leave aging stereotypes for others!
And for those of us who are getting into the realm of “aging adulthood,” staying active in both body and mind and getting regular social contact can only enhance our living experience.
Just a little bit of food for thought about aging stereotypes this week.