You (hopefully) won’t stay quiet when someone insults you..so why do you tolerate significant insults from your own Inner Old Person? In recent Medium articles, I’ve seen people describe themselves with expressions like these:
“This cranky old lady…”
“The token oldie in the dance class…”
“Old fogies like us…”
Why are you beating yourself up for your age?
The “cranky old lady” was complaining about some stupid new airline policy. Why can’t she describe herself as a “fed-up flyer?”
Maybe she’s trying to justify publishing an article that’s a rant. Why should she? People of all ages deliver rants and rages with no apologies. Some are well-respected columnists for the New York Times.
And if you’re enjoying your dance class, just dive in. You’re not a “token oldie.” You’re a dancer.
In my book I write about how much I love going to Zumba classes. I feel cheated when someone makes a condescending remark, like, “You look like you’re having fun.” It takes me out of my zone.
Besides, when you’re attending exercise classes for a while, you become a regular. People forget how old you are. They start admiring your fitness (and I always hope they’re just a little bit jealous).
And don’t get me started on people who call themselves “fogies,” “geezers,” or “codgers.” I wrote a whole article about geezers and another one about grandmas. “Grandma” isn’t an insult unless you’re applying the title to all women over the age of, say, sixty.
You’re a person. Ninety-nine percent of the time your age is irrelevant.
In her book, This Chair Rocks, Ashton Applewhite argues for leaving age off medical records.
And in my book, When I Get Old I Plan To Be A Bitch, I argue that she’s got a valid point. All too often doctors diagnose based on age, which hurts younger people too.
Paul Gardner wrote a great article about talking back to your Inner Old Person. Don’t let that person call you names and don’t tolerate name-calling from anyone else. You deserve better.