Mar 1, 2011by tracey Comments

Have Your Say: Does Aging… Suck?

View the original interview here!

by Sarah Treleaven Feb 24th 2011 7:00AM

Everyone has something to say about getting older. For one woman — Tracey Jackson, author of “Between a Rock and a Hot Place” — the entire process sucks, largely because she doesn’t feel like she was prepared for life post-50.

Q: What has, so far, surprised you most about aging?

A: That we’re not prepared for it. That’s why I wrote the book. We are primed and pumped and well rehearsed for ages 20 through 50. But you hit 50, and over the next few decades, many things in life start to change. No one has really bothered to give us any guidelines to prepare us for those big moments. Details on how to cope with changes — death, aging, body transformations, etc. — would help.

Q: What’s the worst thing about getting older?

A: Death would have to top the list. People around you start to die — parents, parent’s friends, older role models or mentors, some of your own friends and people in your own age group. That’s all very tough.

Q: Does society discriminate against older people?

A: We are not a society that values aging. We are youth obsessed. Watch TV or look at ads anywhere: The only older people selling products are selling medicine. And let’s face it: 50 isn’t that old. We buy bicycles and tennis racquets, TVs and jeans, but we’re never represented in commercials or ads as doing any of that. Society seems to send out the message that those over 50 no longer matter — our input isn’t important.

We may not be 30, but we want — and deserve — to be heard. We want movies made for us, products others than adult diapers and heart medicine sold to us, we want to contribute and to continue to be thought of as relevant.

What’s required are big changes in the way people think. Maybe this generation of Boomers can do that. We’re certainly trying. Fifty is not 30, but it’s also not what 50 was 50 years ago.

Q: Do you have any tips people can use to prepare for aging?

A: Ask yourself, “What kind of a 50- to 80-year-old do I want to be? How do I make these years really count? How can I feel relevant?”

You don’t have to run around acting like a teenager, but why should your basic goals, passions and life be altered by what other people think of your age? Stay busy, stay up to date, stay healthy. That last point is huge: If you’re healthy, you can scale mountains, literally, if that’s what you want.

Q: Are there any upsides to aging?

A: Well, it’s the only alternative to dying. And it can be as much fun — if not more — than your younger years. It’s what you make of it!