I read an article yesterday in the Huffington Post promoting senior empowerment. The writer argued that we torpedo ourselves by living up to senior stereotypes. She further claimed that self-deprecating senior humor causes our self-esteem to recede faster than our hairlines. Phhht!
Seriously, ageism is a crappy deal. A lot of seniors struggle against discrimination in the workplace – and I’m talking about the newly old. I’ve seen the system fail people that I love, but anger and righteous indignation (while frequently justified) polarizes us.
I just don’t think that schooling ourselves to be politically correct about aging is going to empower us. Trying to avoid stereotypes is like ignoring the elephant in the room. We’re all getting older, and it’s scary. I believe that fear is what really robs us of our power, and humor helps to combat the fear.
If you go to the “About Me” page on this blog, you’ll find my mission statement:
“As a humor writer, my goal is to use laughter to diffuse the anxiety of aging; challenge others to bring humor into their daily lives; and prove that there is joy and laughter to be found at every stage of life’s journey.”
When I’m going through shit, finding others who have been through it is very healing. When we relate to each other, we accept our human condition and find that we’re not so very different, regardless of our age.
I may exaggerate and look for the ridiculous in life, but my goal is always to embrace the underlying truth. Facing our fears takes away their power and gives it back to us.