Let’s Talk About: Age-ism

The issue is bigger than Tom Brady

First of all — excellence is excellence at any age, and that often comes from *experience,* and weathering both victories and failures. It is completely ridiculous to cap the age of achievement before an individual has the opportunity to truly go out into the world, learn, experiment and explore.

Only focusing on athletes in their late teens and 20s is unfortunately a bit limiting. Of course skill development as early as possible is great, but it’s not the be all end all. Different talents can be discovered at any time. I believe the old mindset of youth in years over everything should be on the way out. And anyone illogically criticizing an athlete like Tom Brady achieving excellence at any age may be jaded with a perverse need to throw stones, and/or jealous.

Recently I heard a poolside conversation about athletes like Brady and David Goggins. The people chatting referred to them as freaks of nature, as if their achievements were purely genetic flukes. The fact is though that both of those guys have unbelievable passion and drive. Any one of us could choose to employ that kind of mental discipline, but most people choose not to. The people talking smack are quite simply not willing to make the lifestyle choices necessary (or are ignorant to them) for that excellence over time.

See the photo above: I came across a group of CBS journalists covering the PGA tour in Detroit. They were belly up to the bar eating bar food and drinking alcohol every day. Is it really not so surprising that someone like that would be quick to refute the possibilities of lifelong athleticism. They don’t see it for themselves. It takes smart, deliberate constructive choices with long range sight for longevity in sport. The way I see it: When you are dedicated and truly enjoy what you’re doing, discipline can even be fun, because you know you’re playing a long game called life and you are learning, process oriented. You enjoy more than accolades or fleeting moments, or standing on podiums or even good reviews — you embrace life and enjoy it to the fullest.

Someone like Tom Brady, but certainly not limited to, has had to tune out and even proverbially stick his tongue out at the noise of the media, and all the limiting beliefs circulating that have passed for status quo. I take great comfort in the existence of brave people like this in the public eye, the trend of lifelong achievement, and the end of ageism as a new normal.

As I said before, it makes no sense to expect the world from someone in their 20s when they have not even experienced the world. We really don’t have to be racing each other to the grave here. That kind of mentality and lifestyle is just too extremely high pressure and stressful.

In weightlifting for example, because that is one activity I participate in personally, there are still a lot of people who think it’s only worthwhile to compete and be competitive when you’re in and around your 20s because of old studies done on all men. And some coaches and teachers seem to milk teenagers for all they’re worth without real emotional support or mentorship to help develop psychological fortitude, and then wonder why they give up the sport or activity. I say mind expansion is definitely necessary here, being willing to work with and put on a pedestal people of all ages, because of their excellence and being able to foster that excellence. It’s important not to limit people or interfere with their development because one does not see those possibilities for oneself for whatever reason, or even worse to take advantage that person.

The fact remains — Anyone can choose to pursue vibrant activities at any time. But you can’t do it while you’re engaged in destructive and body degenerative activities like binge drinking and not exercising. In other words, if you’re a couch potato, you’re not in a good position to decide what is possible for the human race and evolution. If you’re closed-minded, you’re not in a good position to preach what’s possible for others.

Human evolution is open-ended and happening, and we have every reason to feel encouraged by this. If you have a God or Gods in your life or not, that is surely proof of some kind of built-in benevolence that we can keep growing. We have the ability to make a conscious choice.

Whenever I look at mass media too long I have to remind myself I’m not responsible for all the limited or doomsday viewpoints! As a conscious choice, I think resigning to inaction is just plain stupid. Given the choice, does one want to play a fun game, or does one want to play a scary game? Is it a horrible ending or is it happy triumphant ending — or better yet, is there no ending. The scary game entails giving up on everything and rolling over into obsolescence. Who does this really benefit? I’m not sure anymore. The medical industry?

Yes, these matters are personal choice — but let it be open minded, educated personal choice rather than feeling strange pressure to just stop doing things for no good reason…?

The nonsense of ageism has been programmed by mass media and brainwashing advertisements. Just today I saw a completely ridiculous Lancome advertisement in which a girl who looks 19 or 20 is saying, unconvincingly (the mask is dropping), how “all of us” use under-eye concealer for dark circles. Well first of all the acting is bad because the message is complete nonsense. Secondly, dark circles are often caused by a nutrient deficiency, lack of or irregular sleep or destructive habits like chronic alcohol consumption or smoking (which lead to toxicity of internal environment.) These things are not set in stone! Problems like that crop up from living in unhealthy lifestyle, one that is very stressful — yet conversely, better or even stellar choices can lead to high quality of life, meaning good health and enjoyment.

Beyond the heretofore advertised narrow window of personal and career achievement, it’s now time to acknowledge that we have long lifespans and we are overall smarter now. And can thus make more intelligent, deliberate choices that lead to greater quality of life. One can make more and more good feeling constructive choices in order for that to happen. I can only choose for myself — and what I have noticed is that ditching limiting beliefs and artificial pressure gets me farther, while enjoying life even with its ups and downs, unhurried and happier. Tom Brady for me is someone exemplary and great to discuss because he is highly visible, out there showing how it’s done.

In the workforce, the professional world, experienced people, regardless of numeric age, should be considered and extolled for excellence and nothing else. Don’t companies want experienced people? People of any age have something to contribute. So that means no reverse ageism either. The new younger generations always have tons to offer for being the next more intelligent, genetically improved and adapted generation with fresh viewpoints. So, all the more reason they too should not be held back by the outdated counterproductive attitudes of prior generations. Prior generations must continue learning and evolving. And I suppose if they don’t they’ll sit around complaining about people breaking barriers like “Hey, you can’t do that!” which translates to “I don’t think I can do that.”

To conclude, if one wants to be a certain thing or achieve a certain goal, there are a lot of choices and cumulative actions and mental power i.e. will and determination that goes into this. People determined to live longer, healthier, more productive and enjoyable lives should be celebrated as setting shining examples. Do we have to be just like them? No, but anyone can apply the overarching theme of expansion and possibilities.

Published by sarah ikerd

@sarah.ikerd / owner

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