The Age Trap
Youth GOOD, Middle and/or Old Age BAD
Middle &/or Old Age........Seen as the Beginning of........D-E-C-L-I-N-E
AGETITIS, Disease of People Approaching Middle &/or Old Age
Middle &/or Old Age DOESN'T Mean One Acts OLD
At Your Age, You Want To Do and Be WHAT?! Don't Be Preposterous, Act YOUR Age, Will You!
I. What is AGE Really?
What is age exactly? People have different concept as to what is age. Many associate age with doing "age appropriate activities". They believe that youth is the time to explore myriad avenues and to be wild. They further contend that youth is the time to act silly and to be as bold as one wishes to be. They bemoan and lament the oncoming of aging.
Some people staunchly assert that once people become a "certain age" whether it is middle or old age, they must ACT their age. Middle aged and older people are routinely told to slow down and to act more sedate. They are inculcated with the premise "being too old" whenever they wish to embark on a new activity or venture. They are sternly told that whatever chances they had are now gone and to live with their fate.
II. Youth Associated With Positivity, Desirability & Dynamism While Middle and Old Age Are Seen as Negativity, Undesirability & Decline
In this youth obsessed culture, being young is the ultimate prize. Young people are this youth obsessed society, being young is the ultimate prize. Young people are oftentimes considered to be more attractive, sexy, aggressive, and dynamic than their counterparts are who middle aged and/or older. When people are middle aged and/or older, they are seen as "the lesser" and the opposite of the aforementioned characteristics.
Middle aged and/or older people are perceived to be staid, rigid, even fogyish. Young people are viewed as more attractive, sexy, aggressive, and dynamic than those who are middle aged and older. When you are middle aged and older, you are seen as less of the aforementioned things. Middle aged and older people are often viewed somewhat negatively. Old people in this society are viewed very negatively-they are considered senile and in the way.
No wonder many people become apprehensive with the idea of becoming older. They are subconsciously succumbing to the underlying, negative concept of aging which is ever present in this society. There are middle aged people who are very uncomfortable with the fact that they ARE middle age. They feel that this period is the end of their youth. They contend that they are no longer the fun and exciting people they used to be. They feel that they are starting to decline.
III. Middle and/or Old Age as ...........Utter Resignation, What's To Come & What Once WAS
There are middle aged people who begin to think of themselves as old. They even feel that way. They contend that their life as they know it is over. They feel that there is nothing else to do or try. They become resigned to the fact that because they are older, there is no newness as far as their life goes. There are some who believe that their 20s are the years when one achieves the ultimate success in their career and/or other life choice. They staunchly believe that once people reach their 30s, they are too old to try to attempt to do anything and should accept his/her fate. Instead of approaching middle age positively, they become embittered about the whole experience. There are middle aged people who have atavistically stereotypical ideas of how people should act at certain age periods of their lives.
Many people view youth as the Age of Promise when everything and/or anything is possible. They view middle and/or old age as the Age of Resignation. They also see middle and/or old age is the period of should/could have done and lost/never will get opportunities. Their lives are of regrets. They constantly bemoan that they should have pursued something whether it was an education, career, and/or other lifestyle choice while they were YOUNG. They believe that at their age, it is WAY TOO late for them to pursue anything, so they feel sad about their present period of their lives.
There are people who succumb to the societal construct that once people reach a certain age, they begin to act in accordance to the societal idea regarding that age. They start to lose their curiosity, sense of adventure, and general joie de vivre. They begin to act more cautious and risk averse. When they are inquired as to the change in their personality, their response is they are getting older and cannot do the activities they once enjoyed. They further assert that the aforementioned activities are for young people, not them.
IV. Agetitis- The UNSPOKEN, Even UNMENTIONABLE Disease Among Those Approaching Midlife and Beyond
Some people are victims of agetitis. These are the same people who believe that once they reach THAT age, they slow down, calm down, and find life to be more daunting. They lose what little vigor they have left. In other words, they begin to act old in accordance to the respective prevailing sociocultural definition.
There are those who strongly contend that when people reach old age particularly, they start to lose their physical and mental capabilities. They fail to realize that there are many vibrant people in their 60s and 70s. Some people insist that although there may be such people, they are quick to add that once people get into their 80s, they simply cannot do things for themselves. There are even old people who maintain that the average person in their 80s do not know who they are, even not knowing how their names are. So these old people, once they become 80, start to become incapacitated both physically and mentally because they equate 80 with incapacitation.
Many old people become what they think about by succumbing to their familial, cultural, and/or societal paradigms regarding age. There are people who once retired, actually retire from life physically, emotionally, and mentally. They do not use retirement as a venue to pursue new opportunities and ventures, doing the things they were unable to do while working. Many retirees feel unwanted and discarded. Such attitudes permeate their entire being, oftentimes with quite devastating and disastrous consequences.
V. Middle and/or Old Age is NO Excuse for Being........OLD, Really NOW
There are middle aged and older people who refuse to adhere to, even discarding, atavistic paradigms regarding aging. To them, age does not preclude them from trying new avenues, pursuing new adventures, and opportunities. However, their family members and/or friends tell them that they are "too old" to do these things. Sadly, many middle aged and older people yield to the negativity of their family and friends to try to rein them in, informing them what they doing is "totally inappropriate" for their age.
For example, some people may elect to either pursue and/or continue their education in their 50s or 60s, either for bachelor's or a more advanced degree. Many of their family members or friends believe that the 50s and/or 60s is way too old for people to pursue and/or continue an education because the latter cannot make a sizable contribution to society in comparison to younger people. These people will even be told by others that on the basis of their age, attending college and attaining a degree is a total waste of time although there are people who attend college, got degrees, and having new and/or second careers.
There are middle aged and/or older people who adhere to old familial and/or sociocultural paradigms regarding aging, suppressing their lifeforce thus becoming dejected and useless as they become older. There are people who believe that the issue of age is totally coincidental and circumstantial, spitting at such conventions. They are constantly evolving, learning, and growing as people. They are adherents to the belief that Rome was not built in a day. They believe that people do not have to do EVERYTHING when young. They feel that life consists of varied ages and/or stages, adding that people can do anything at any age as long as they are healthy physically and alert mentally.
These people will not subscribe to the paradigm that they cannot pursue certain and/or desired activities and/or dreams because of age. Many feel that they still have lots to conquer. They believe in living and not stopping until they are either totally incapacitated or dead. They will not let age stop them from travelling, pursuing further education, and/or a second, maybe third career. They maintain that they are youthful, intending to do even more as they get older.
Many middle aged and/or older people are still going strong. Think of dynamos such as Rita Moreno, 80;Joan Rivers, 78; and Betty White, 90, who are definitely NOT going to retire soon, if ever. These women are just getting FIERCER with age. More people should be like them and thunderous applause to those middle aged and/or older people who defy the old paradigms of aging!
Many people succumb to the old paradigm that one must slow down and/or regulate their lives once they hit the "age plateau". People have been indoctrinated in the premise that youth is the time to try and be everything and once people are no longer young, they simply should not be that adventurous and bold ever! Furthermore, people reach a "certain age" , they are told to "act their age", not "their shoe size". In other words, they must act like a "good middle aged and old people", being totally averse to adventure and opportunities, living their remaining years in utter and quiet desperation- in other words, being resigned to their fate, and waiting for their eventual demise.
Many middle aged andor older people are subjected to old aging paradigms from society, cultural, and so-called well-meaning family members, relatives, and/or friends. If they want to pursue avenues of adventures and new and unheard of opportunities, they are actively dissuaded and/or discouraged from doing such by their families, relatives, and friends. They are told to "stay in their place" and "to act accordingly to their respective ages."
Many middle aged and older people subconsciously believe that their lives are indeed over once they have reached their respective ages. They begin to lose interest and stop indulging in the activities they used to enjoy. They eventually succumb to the self-fulfilling prophecy regarding how people of their respective ages should act and think thus becoming such.
However, there are people who adamantly refuse to defer to old paradigms regarding aging. They live by their own paradigm regarding the issue of aging. They are of the thought that age is simply consequential and circumstantial. They refuse to permit age to interfere with what they wish to pursue and participate in. They believe in being totally youthful-for as long as possible. Yes, age is just that - a DESIGNATED number, no more, no less!
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© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams