Imagine this: Two cups, one containing sugar and the other containing sand. You pour the sugar into a large bowl. Then you carefully pour the sand on top. Next, you take a tweezers and pick up each grain, separating the sand and sugar back into their respective cups. How long do you think it would […]
I was watching the live recording of Will Smith as he prepared to bungee jump out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. I kept saying out loud, “I’m nervous. Oh. My. God. Don’t do this! I don’t wanna watch! Wait, yes I do! He’ll be fine. Aah!” As time drew closer to him getting on the helicopter, […]
During the past 20 years, I’ve worked as an executive in aging services, partnering with some of the best in the field. For the most part, we all slept soundly at night, the missions were strong, the culture was healthy, and satisfaction scores were good. Despite all of that success, there has been a gnawing inside of me that I can’t seem to shake.
The idea that I might look at the period of transition from adulthood into something else came from Dr. Bill Thomas. He called it “the end of adulthood”, I picked up on his thought and added thoughts of my own. Out of that comes “Adulthood’s End”.
Over the last two years, my East Side Institute colleague Dr. Susan Massad and I have had the honor of leading “The Joy of Dementia” workshops around the country. One former college professor whose diagnosis was still recent, began sharing the experiences and emotions she was going through, and ended by saying, “What can I say, it’s just weird.”
I think what I saw was this 18-year-old’s inability to imagine herself aging into someone who looked like us. And I get that. It’s hard to imagine when you’re 18 and your body’s perfect, blooming, unblemished, perky, that you’ll ever look like someone decades older.
It’s become a trend in schools around the US to celebrate the 100th day of school by holding a “Dress Like a 100-Year-Old Day.” Pinterest and some websites provide instructions for parents to help their kids look and act the part of an old person. Today’s kids are tomorrow’s leaders. We have a great opportunity to inoculate them against the damaging effects of ageism.
To some extent I have identified as a social and environmental activist myself. One part has come out of my time as a park ranger, and another out of my passion for community. Both of them have grown with me, ripening as the years have passed. So that, the activism that now speaks to me is not the activism I grew-up with.