Are We Ageist, Or Is Age Just A Number?

Are we defined by our age, or do we define other people by theirs? Yes, we are ageist! There has been so much mention of genders, Xenophia and, and, and here in South Africa recently. Am I just adding another negative argument to the mix? Hopefully not.

In South Africa, the harsh reality of immigration grows daily. It is no longer just a friend of a friend of a distant relative who is leaving, but a few layers have been taken away and with that comes the inevitable brain drain.

Forgive me as I digress.

In school I loved Geography. My geography teacher didn’t care much for my cousins though (she taught my brother and cousins too). I find this quite shocking because, yes, we are chatty (some of us more so than others) but we are a teachers delight, because we can actually read a map.

One of the concepts we were taught in Geography was the “brain drain” that happens in communities when so many people leave to seek a new life elsewhere.

I only left school a couple of years ago … Okay it was 21 years. Shut up.

I think people immigrating has been happening for a while and around 1994 we saw a bigger Exodus – movement of the people here in South Africa. (See what I just did. A song for every moment. I would like to thank Bob Marley for the musical interlude)

Dare to dream

I have only realised my passion in life recently. And only now have I have dared to dream and learn new things and thanks to Masterchef (no I am not paid to reference them). If you watched my youtube video you may understand the brackets. Anyway … I have found my passion in social media and marketing. I love it.

I believe we should never stop growing and learning but I do think South Africans are aegist.

Okay, now I’ve turned this into a political post.

Retirement for young old people

With young professionals leaving we have a lot of the older generation who can do the work, who often cannot find work because 55 is too old, apparently? Switzerland, in recent years, has increased their retirement age as I am sure a lot of countries across the world are doing. People are living longer. Fact.  A lot of the time their retirement policies were not taken into account or they hoped their children would be able to take care of them when they retire. These children cannot take care of their parents as they did before as they themselves are struggling to make ends meet.

Therefore the parents will have to work longer. That, or they may want to work longer because they enjoy work and do not want to sit at home day in and day out doing nothing. Retirement, after all, is about living your best life. Hopefully without health worries. Which is another reason why they can and want to work until they are older. With advancements in medical and health care, people are living longer because they are healthier.

So at 55 if you wanted to retire or learn a new skill, either way, that is a good 10 to 15 years you could give a company. So why do we view 55 as old?

Different Generational Ages

I remember going to the UK at 19 years old. My mom had me when she was quite young. It turned out that the lady I au paired for was the same age as my mom and she was only just starting her family life. Then meeting my extended family in the UK who also only started settling down with kids in their 30’s made me realise how ageist I was. I realised that life doesn’t ever have to stop being fun or limiting because of your age. Don’t be ageist!

Find The Fun

There is no real purpose to this post but more of an affirmation that you are NEVER too old to try a new career or hobby. I would possibly say you may be too old or it could be just unfit to pursue something extremely physical. In that case, please consult your doctor.

And to any potential employers out there – Jennifer Aniston is in her 50’s and I am sure you would employ her. Winston Churchill made the biggest impact of his life as a retired man. There as so many examples of people who have achieved so much later in life. I mean, check Cher out at the American Music Awards. She’s 73 years old – what’s your granny doing tonight?

I would love for you to share your stories where age is really a number in this thing called life. Or maybe you are ageist.

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