Do the Rolling Stones have to step aside because they’re in their seventies?
Of course not. They like what they’re doing.
So does Paul McCartney. Van Morrison. Willie Nelson. The list goes on.
Musicians, writers, artists, actors.
They’re doing their own, creative thing. It’s ok to be old.
They’re not doing our thing. They’re not in the “service business”.
That’s usually where ageism raises its nasty little head.
The late-in-life politicians, CEO’s, teachers, doctors, farmers, accountants, judges, librarians.
Hot buttons all.
They probably like what they do. are pretty good at it. Want to continue.
Don’t feel old. Or unfit. Or any different from their younger counterparts.
But most people feel, at a certain point, those people should pass the baton.
I get it.
But why, in our lifetime, do we have to step aside because chronologically we are deemed too old. When we don’t feel that way? And are fully functioning.
If we really are of course.
No matter, the number one celebrates on their next birthday shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor of whether they stay or go.
Do u throw out your toaster or floor lamp or dog because they’re past their warranty? Just because the paint’s chipping?
I remember when John Kennedy was elected President. He was 43. I was thrilled. Finally, my generation would be represented. He would get us.
And Barack Obama.
Did they get us any more than their older predecessors because they were younger? Or did they just look better?
I don’t really feel old. Neither do most of my friends. We think of ourselves as informed, fully functioning, hip people. Why do we have to step aside now. When we’ve gained a boatload of smart?
Never did this all seem truer than in the early days of covid. The country was asked if older people, the “elderly”, should even receive vaccines? Were we deserving? Because we’re a lot closer to the end of the conveyor belt than anyone else? Fuck that.
There’s a perception that as we age we become more dawdling. Lose our keys. Need a bathtub with a side door.
That death inevitably arrives when we can no longer muddle about and need to be bed bound surrounded by weeping loved ones.
But I don’t see that.
People today have a good shot at staying vital until very late in life.
And then are snapped away when they least expect it.
We may not look so good, but, it’s what’s under the hood. Right?
I get that there’s always been the changing of the generations.
Our daughters now cook the pie on Thanksgiving. We’re offered a shiny little severance to leave our jobs early. We attend our grandchild’s graduation party.
But that doesn’t make us any less qualified to do the things we know about. Or explore things we don’t.
We need to be able to live out our entire life doing the things we love. Publicly or not. And not have to step down because someone’s checking off boxes on the calendar.
It’s true that some people choose not to do certain things anymore. And some are truly impaired. Wobbly. But that’s not everyone.
Age can’t automatically push you to the bone pile.
Warren buffet still stands tall atop Berkshire Hathaway. Anthony Fauci continues to be our guide on all things infectious. And Mick Jaggar has no trouble jumping up on that stage at Madison Square Garden.
They’re not ready to stop.
Should old people have to move to the back of the line because they don’t look so good?
I really don’t think so.