Don’t Let Others Define You Based on Age

I first experienced age discrimination when I started applying for a full-time teaching position after I had turned fifty. Others were defining who I was based on my age. I experienced plenty of humiliation and disappointment until I finally had an opportunity to interview with a hiring committee of peers. Aging Isn’t the Problem—It’s Ageism As is often said, aging isn’t the problem. It’s ageism – or stereotyping and discrimination based on age. The World Health Organization reported that ageism is the most socially ‘normalized’ of any prejudice and is not widely countered—like racism or sexism.Individuals may experience being stigmatized…

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Beyond Youthfulness: Discovering Our Real Worth

I spent a good part of my early fifties in denial. I hadn’t yet realized that worth was greater than youthfulness. When I got ready for work in the morning, I saw the same face in the mirror that I’d always seen. I also felt years younger than my actual age. (Apparently, a lot of us feel this way.) When I first experienced discrimination or different treatment from others because of my age, I was taken by surprise. In my mind, I was still fairly young. The Myth that Our Greatest Value is Our Youthfulness It wasn’t until I saw myself…

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The Aging Workforce: The Perfect Storm That Must Be Addressed

A demographic shift has taken place in the workplace. For some employers, this shift has the potential to represent the perfect storm if not addressed.  Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching full retirement every day, but that doesn’t mean these individuals plan to retire in the near future.Why Are Some Older Workers Staying on the Job?What some employers may not realize is that many older workers cannot afford to retire. The great recession, insufficient retirement investments, the likelihood of having to finance two or three additional decades of living, and rising healthcare costs may have affected the financial side of…

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Choose Wisely and Do Your Homework When Thinking About Relocating

Where do you plan to live when you retire or start your next chapter in life? Some individuals and couples hope to remain in their current homes as long as possible. However, this may not always be practical. Choose wisely when thinking about relocating.The amount of upkeep required, the number of levels in the home and overall costs including taxes and repairs have to be considered. Realistically, a move might be a wise option. However, there are certain considerations that must be taken into account before moving; some considerations include proximity to family, the overall cost of living, access to…

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Six Months Into My New Chapter

Many years ago, I had a student from Kenya when I was teaching speech communication courses at Portland State University. During a discussion on cultural differences, I mentioned that in Western culture, we tended to put a high premium on productivity.We discussed how when we first met people in our culture, we tended to focus on what they did rather than who they were.  To some degree, what the other person did either elevated their status or diminished their worth.My Kenyan student quietly waited until our discussion was almost over. Then he said, "In my country, I can sit under…

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Age-defying Messages Come with a Hefty Price. Let’s Be the Generation that Embraces Aging

In a culture that glorifies youth and shuns age, it’s no wonder cosmetic products and procedures that promise to defy aging are globally projected to separate us from $271 Billion U.S. dollars by 2024. Not surprisingly, most of the products that promise to restore our youth are nothing more than that—expensive promises. Even more radical ‘age-defying’ approaches such as plastic surgery have limitations and expiration dates. We really cannot afford to accept the age-defying messages. We need to be the generation that embraces positive aging. Positive aging doesn’t mean we reject looking our best; it just means we recognize the…

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Why It’s Important to Pay Attention to the Long Game

After my children started school, I began thinking about some of my own unrealized dreams. By working part-time, I was able to put myself through college. After college, I felt like I needed to get a good paying job to justify having gone to school against the wishes of my former husband. I didn't have a long-term plan; I didn't realize it was important to pay attention to the long game.  I just worked because that's what I thought I should do. Wishful Thinking Wasn't a Plan My job did provide health insurance -something my family didn't have until I…

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The Power of Having a Purpose Beyond the Workplace

Dan Buettner, longevity researcher and author of The Blue Zones discovered that people living in certain regions of the world lived longer, healthier lives than in other regions. One of the common denominators for people living in these regions was that they typically lived with a sense of purpose. Having a sense of purpose has been associated with a healthier, longer life. Some evidence from Buettner’s work suggests that having a sense of purpose may add up to seven extra years to our lives when compared to those who do not experience a sense of purpose. Purpose Beyond the Workplace…

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Appreciating the Elder Women Who Saw What I Couldn’t See

I hadn’t thought about Mrs. Dempsey for over a half-century. I was thinking about this week’s theme, remembering, when Mrs. Dempsey’s name and face popped into my mind. I remember how white and soft her hair looked compared to her tanned and weathered face. She’d lived a good while before I ever met her. She was also a person who saw something in me that I couldn’t see. The Importance of a Caring Adult Mrs. Dempsey was my 4-H leader when I was in the fourth grade. Each week I looked forward to going over to her house after school—not…

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Getting Older Doesn’t Have to Suck Swamp Gas if You Practice Gratitude

Some people may think that getting older is like sucking swamp gas. Have you heard people say things like, “Getting older sucks,” or “I don’t like to see myself on camera because I look so old!”  For many of us, getting older is an adjustment – both psychologically and physically. At some point, we are confronted with the reality that we’re not going to be “forever young” no matter how much we may want to believe it. The good news is that there is something very simple we can do to support positive aging and potentially support a longer life…

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