ideas.ted.comRather than identifying as old, young or middle-aged, be an “old person in training” insteadBeing an Old Person in Training allows us to choose purpose and intent over dread and denial and connects us empathically with our future selves, says author and activist Ashton Applewhite.What does it mean to be "age queer?" How are you can you become an "Old Person in Training," and how does language impact our beliefs about getting old?
Being “age queer” means to be age-nonconforming. This means that you don’t fit into the age that your body is stated to be. It’s normal and common to ask others what their age is but for many people they feel uncomfortable telling people their age. This can be for many reasons but one of the reasons as stated in the article is “not because she wants people to take her for younger but because she refuses to be pigeonholed in a way that she finds ‘reductive and usually faulty.’ ” Becoming an “old person in training” bridges the us/them divide between young people vs older people. It acknowledges the inevitability of growing older. The author says it helps people feel good about growing old and helps to feel excited about the future instead of feeling dread. I relate to this as someone who’s afraid of the unknowns of the future and afraid of growing older. Language also impacts our beliefs about getting old because we often talk about it in society with buzz words/statements like “fountain of youth” for example. Society glamorizes being young to an unhealthy extent and people talk about doing their best to stay young and using creams that “target wrinkles” or “stops aging”. These are also buzz words that skincare companies use to target people who want to stop aging. This continues to create negative feelings about aging.
Being age queer means you're not doing what one may feel the average person at the age should be doing ; this is also subject to opinion. Societal norms are over rated in my opinion. I have a great love and deep understanding for older people ; I believe the old age combined with the knowledge and life experiences make them wonderul people to speak to if only for a short time. Technically everyone from infancy, to adolescence and young adults are old people in training so we have no right to act as though one is better than another. Language and the way we speak to one another has the power to heal or hurt ; the term there is power in the tongue is so true. Old age is not the worst thing that can happen to you, I myself wish to live a long life but for some reason the higher the number in years there's a connotation with misery, senile behavior or an inability to do the same task you've been doing for the same few decades. I believe life is not the easiset task but we only live once so we have to give it our best while we're here. Not everyone is guaranteed to see old age. It's no secret I love older people and the elderly, I love to see them with the new generations of their families, in the workplace in positions of power and in the areas that they watched change. There's nothing wrong with embracing life in old age.
Being "age queer" means removing age tags from one's identity in whatver form or manner. It is done so as to remove negativity or identity crises that are thrust on people pf certain ages. One can be overlooked for example based on their age for certain positions but they could be highly qualified. One can become an "old person in training" by eliminating age tags and stereotypes associated with age and instead focus on the expectation of old age with intent as opposed to dread. The article highlights the fact that most people approach the old age question with dread and horror despite the fact that they can do very little about it in real sense. It also makes people look at others through a stereotypical lens which makes them less human in essence. A person can look at another person and make them feel unaccomplished or over accomplished based on merely their age which then affects how they interact with others.Language can therefore greatly impact our beliefs about getting old because if we eliminate the age tags in formal language just as we do with persons with disabilities then we all become people, as opposed to being young or old as the only unit of measure. The value of a person transcends their age and this is first taught through language.......!
I understand that the bondage of age is a kind of invisible pressure. Many people are afraid to face their true age. They also change their decisions and life as they age. For example, more than ten years ago in China, I think it was obvious that people were limited by age and a number after the pace of life. From studying and working and getting married and having children. There is such a thing as the right age, and if you do something outside of that perceived age range, it's considered abnormal, too late or too early. I was also bound by age. I planned to graduate from college at 25, have my own career, and be married by 30. It's all evidence of my bondage. So I remind myself that age really is a number, that it is never too late to do anything, that when you want to start something, don't be afraid that you are too old and think there is no chance.
Knowing the age of an individual enables us to categorize them and compare the choices and or accomplishments achieved fit a little box our expectation. Being “age queer” would have those preconceived notions disappear. Age queer allows the fixed meaning to vanish, by not conforming to society’s view of the supposed constructs of age. We can become an "Old Person in Training” by knowing it’s an inevitability and acting accordingly, no use denying. I find when you embrace the inevitable it’s a smoother transition to acceptance and peace. The actions and words flow to support the new state of mind and allow the prejudgments to flow away, enabling you to see truth and be enriched in the experiences.
Ageism exists separate from the realities of aging, rather it comes down to societies expectation of what it means to be old. Traditionally ageism is viewed on a societal level, in which society at large discriminates on the individual. There however has been a change in how we view ageism. That being that ageism exists from within as well as from without.
Society has this notion, that is imparted onto the individual, that to be old is to be lethargic, it is to be incapable, and it is to be not the same person as who you are. It taps into a fundamental fear that to age is to lose a part of yourself and your individuality, both on a physical sense and a mental sense. When identifying yourself by age, there is a lack of nuance in the person behind the number. I am an octogenarian, identified by the physical age rather than the journey I took to get to however many years. The journey that defines me exists somewhat independently from my age. The same disassociation of the self applies when someone identifies their future. At times the ageism is internalized so that the stereotypes and prejudices assigned to people that are older is applied to their vision of themselves. Leading to fear for the future and the view that their older selves is completely detached in continuity from their current self. Despite the fact that literally that could not be further from the truth.
To be "Age Queer" is to reject the ageism present in both society and self-identity. In favor of viewing and judging oneself by their accomplishments and personal growth. To view yourself as an "Old Person in Training" is to view an older self as the amalgamation and accumulation of all the personal growth you will have achieved by then. This frames aging as both as something to be desired and a continuation of your current goals and aspirations.
Like misogyny and bigotry, ageism is inequality, a serious and deep harm to older people. As such, it is a valid question which requires legitimate attentionAgeism, like other types of bias, can only be overcome if it begins with yourself. To put it another way, we have a duty to break the pattern of prejudices and they are simply handed on from generation to generation.
The AARP estimates that 1 in 5 U.S. employees are over 55 years of age. Almost 65% of employees feel they are discriminated against on the basis of age at work and 58% think that ageing is evident from the age of 50.
Growing old is something that should be considered a blessing, not a curse, but how can someone look forward to growing older when discrimination is waiting for them. This must change.
Choosing intention and intent than fear and denial as an Old Person in Training helps us to empathize with our older self and enables us to choose ultimate purpose above fear and disbelief. Some may inquire as to your age. The knowledge appears to be basic, but it's not. We question mainly out of tradition, dating back to a time when a week seemed like a lifetime and every year represented milestones and revolutionary liberties. Individuals question this because age serves as a handy proxy for contextualizing achievements and calibrating standards. It's hard to break the practice of having to know a person's age. A woman, for example, attended a talk by Silvia Curado, a scientist. The women in this conversation challenged her weight, and she declined to respond. The inability to adhere to the social structures of age is known as age queerness.Moving through those divides to accept the one direction we'll all take is a radical effort in such a society deeply divided by race, gender, and age. Taking on the role of an Old Person in Training can be considered a political act since it removes the shame and guilt. Becoming an Old Person in Training allows us to think objectively as to what age entails in today's culture and the factors at play in representations of the elderly.
To be age queer means to not identify with your physical age but instead by experiences that you may have had. To become an "old person in training" means to live in preparation for the years to come. I enjoyed this article just because I've experienced ageism a lot in my life. There are a lot of "adults" who may not know as much as a younger person and may have had similar experiences as the "adults" may have had. When we consider these factors we see how age really is nothing but a number, though that sounds really chliché it is true. Age is just another way to limit and look down on people ad the goals that they may have in life, the idea of being "age queer" is a good way to fight this.