As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also gotten to know quite a few of my Baby Boomer peers. I think, on the whole, they can be divided into 2 groups: those who accept aging as a natural part of the life cycle and those who don’t. In that latter category are my friends who visit a hair salon every month to color their hair. They don’t like to reveal their age, to anyone. They get insulted if offered a seat on the subway or, for that matter, get referred to as “elderly”, “old” or “senior”.
Even though I fall into the first category (probably the only thing Meryl Streep and I have in common), and am comfortable with my burgeoning wrinkles and graying hair, I am enormously sympathetic to those denying friends because of the rampant ageism that marginalizes older people, gives them short shrift, assumes they’re senile and doesn’t give to senior citizens the same respect and attention given, say, to younger people.
This post won’t right those societal wrongs but I think it’s important to call it out for what it is: another form of discrimination.
It’s interesting to note that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, this country will reach a new milestone in 2035. It’s predicted that year that older adults, age 65 and over, will outnumber children under 18 for the first time in U.S. history. Fewer babies and a longer life expectancy means that as a country, we’re graying faster!
Given those trends, it seems to make sense to fight back against the stereotypes and adopt a broader acceptance of the inevitable part of our life cycle as humans. There certainly will be more of us around.