BOOMER TALK: The invisible line

Columnist CXarol Fawcett talks about being proud of aging

It is a silent and unspoken judgment.  It is insidious and sneaky in its approach.  It takes us by surprise because it seems to happen almost overnight.  We cross an invisible line and become devalued and unseen in our own society.

Unfortunately, it is growing exponentially due to the current demographic and it impacts our society in a negative manner.

I’m writing about ageism.  Most boomers are starting to experience this silent judgment in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. It compounds as you age in our society and strips you of your personal power because the pressure to look younger builds at the same time.

Clerks almost apologize if they ask if you qualify for a senior discount.  It is not an insult.  It is something to be proud of. We congratulate people for looking younger than they really are.  What message is that sending? What is wrong with looking your age (whatever that means)?

A whole new industry has opened up that didn’t exist before.  It is the business of making you look younger.  A little botox here, a little laser there, or perhaps a non-surgical facelift or maybe we could plump up your face with the adipose tissue (aka ‘fat’) from your butt?   Why?

It is sad to think we are so empty inside that we believe that by simply making physical changes in our appearance we will feel better about ourselves. We’ve got it backwards. We need to work from the inside out, not from the outside in. If we feel good about ourselves emotionally, we will radiate a beautiful energy out to all we meet.

Mature workers start to be pressured to leave their jobs in their 50s

The jobs they have been in for years change radically and they are expected to switch their focus and the pressure increases to produce, produce, produce. Quotas become more important than the human beings who are supposed to produce them.

Our western culture does not seem to value the wisdom and knowledge that comes with age and doesn’t place value on the experience and the lessons learned along the way.  It seems that in our society our status drops as we age, hence the pressure to look younger than we are.

The life experience that mature workers bring to the workplace is valuable beyond measure. It can help a work force to be more effective in the long run and can provide a nice balance of job expertise between younger workers and more experienced workers.  Wisdom is shared and personal growth is achieved.

Boomers don’t need to read wise sayings and post them on social media because they likely wrote the wise sayings in the first place.

When it is implied that they are no longer valued in their job, it can and does impact their feelings of self worth. They have given a large portion of their lives to the job and their work ethic has been unquestionable.

This was a generation who tended to stay in one job for decades.

When the extra hours, the effort and care they gave  (and give) so freely is not acknowledged and promotional opportunities are removed, they feel betrayed by the place they helped to make successful.

Through no fault of their own, a lot of boomers have to continue to work beyond the traditional retirement age, not due to bad planning, but due to divorce and circumstances beyond their control.

They deserve respect and should be valued for what they have given and what they continue to provide in a work environment.  Take a step back and honour their experience.

Ask their advice and I guarantee it will be different than what you might imagine.

If you are a boomer, take a look in the mirror, celebrate your lines, rejoice in the knowledge that you are a quality person. You do not need to be injected or lasered.  Focus on being healthy first.   Love yourself and your world will become a softer and more empowering place.

Refuse to be invisible.

Carole Fawcett is a counsellor, clinical hypnotherapist and freelance writer.