Changing the Conversation about Aging

disrupt-aging redJo Ann Jenkins, the CEO of AARP, has a new contribution to the movement to change the way we think and talk about aging. Her book, Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age, is coming out in April and readers of the AARP magazine got a preview of its message.

In the article, Jenkins describes her 50th birthday party and the cards she received from family and friends. Each card made jokes about being older as if aging was something negative. Her response? “I decided then and there that I didn’t want to be defined by my age.” Sounds just like this blog, “Don’t Act Your Age.”

She goes on to explain how she and a growing number of others are choosing to create who they want to be instead of restricting themselves to the limited expectations of society. Rather than conform to outdated notions of what it’s like to be over 50, Jenkins is daring to age outside the box.

The more we commit to busting myths and stereotypes about aging, the greater our lives can be. What we can become has little to do with what we saw our mothers or grandmothers experience. It’s time to stop viewing aging as nothing more than decline and disability. As Jenkins points out, it is a time for growth.

“We’re redefining what it means to be our age” writes Jenkins. I couldn’t agree more. By going back to school in my 50s and 60s, I pushed past what a typical student looks like. And in the process, I expanded what’s possible for my future while giving my brain a really good workout in the process. Not exactly what I used to think people did at this age.

Join the revolution. Put away outdated ideas about what aging means for you. Change the way you think about growing older. Heed the words of Jenkins: “no one’s possibilities should be limited by their age.”

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