ageist editors | march 8, 2018

opportunity vs limits

I’ve been out speaking at events quite a bit recently, and people always ask me what is the defining feature of the people we feature in AGEIST. My response is that it is not age, nor income, nor geography (although we could improve dramatically in this area), nor career. The pivot is: What is a person’s attitude towards their future? Do they feel that it is an opportunity or a limit? Do they feel that the experience they have had plus the runway of life in front of them opens up new choices and challenges? Or does it reduce what is possible? In truth, we all harbor some of both, meaning I will never run a sub-5 minute mile or become a brain surgeon, but because of my expected longevity and my experience, there is a ton of stuff I can now do that I couldn’t do at 25.  The question is: What do we choose to focus on, and therefore what do we manifest?

If we are focusing on the limits, then we will tend to be backward-viewing the wonders of what we were 30 years ago, and probably not going to be looking at having much agency in the world today. If we are opportunity-facing, then it is all about the future and how exciting it is. Personally, and I’m being a bit snarky here, I find people who are backward-looking to be boring, while those who are excited about the future to be of great interest to me. In the course of the last 3 years of working on AGEIST, I have found that these different attitudes are not always bracketed by circumstances one would expect. Sometimes people of considerable financial means are quite bleak about the future, while I have found people experiencing serious health challenges or career disruptions can be the most optimistic about the future.

The point of view one has seems entirely up to the person and how they choose to see themselves and their future. So much about us is out of our control, but this thing seems to be entirely self-chosen.