This episode is all about aging. We take a deep dive into aging what models we use to shape our new identity, and how difficult aging can be for women. You should leave this episode with a new model of aging, a deeper understanding of why we view aging in such dread, and tips on keeping your joy and hope intact while aging gracefully.
Song of the Week: 2:21
Main topic 3:30
Hi there! Welcome to this episode of Charlie’s Toolbox. This episode is all about aging. We take a deep dive into aging, why we should have a better relationship with aging, and how difficult aging can be for women. But like always, let’s talk about my favorite subject, ME! The song of the week, and finally the meat of the topic.
This weekend was amazing! I had a weekend that felt like college. I was surrounded by people I genuinely care about and love. I looked good. We got into the party quickly. I danced my ass off. I sweated. I had a couple of drinks and didn’t have a hangover and the dj was great. I had brunch the next day with my dog and some friends. I have absolutely nothing to analyze or complain about because this Halloween weekend was exactly what I wanted. I am excited to bring more of this type of energy to my life.
Song of the Week
The song of the week is SZA shirt. I am typically not a fan of the content of her music, but I think this song is a great song to sit in the passenger side and look cute in somebody else car. Plus, I enjoyed the visuals. I love Dave Meyers whose videos were part of my childhood. So, its nice to see him thriving still.
Now onto the main topic…. Aging and Joy.
So, I want to enter this conversation by stating when you are a woman, aging, specifically the transition from 20 to 30 is a difficult transition. It isn’t the actual years passing or the lines deepening that is hard. What’s hard is experiencing the way society completely changes how it views you which impacts you. One day you are seen as X and the minute they find out you turned 30, society views you as Y.
This transition from 20 to 30 is quite jarring because no one tells you how harsh the criticism about you is. They don’t tell you that out of nowhere your friends will drop off due to motherhood, marriage, or move away because of their career goals. They don’t tell you that many try to formulate this new identity without direction or pulling from models of the past, which ultimately leaves you feeling joyless and hopeless. So many enter this stage, not in the spirit of optimism, joy, and hope. They enter this new chapter in life from the spirit of fear, melancholy, anxiety, stress, and depression.
For example, when we are in our 20s, our community gives us time to figure ourselves out. There is no pressure to meet those societal checkmarks. There is no shame if you aren’t sure where you are in life. You are afforded patience, freedom, and exploration in your youth. Whereas when you turn 30 society suddenly turns us. They tell us in so many ways that something is wrong with us. Younger folks turn on us and tell us we shouldn’t be in certain spaces. Older folks tell us we no longer have time to explore and there is this immense pressure to quickly achieve these societal markers so that we don’t look flawed to everyone around us. Suffice it to say, the fun that we are afforded in our 20s is quickly replaced by judgment and ire, and the target of all of this is left trying to formulate an identity of who they should be to comfort those around them.
Most grapple with this transition internally. We refuse to let anyone around us know that we are shocked by this perception change-even though deep down we are. Finally, we start to think about what we should do, who we should be, and how we should act, instead of being who we truly are and that is what I want to discuss. Our should and why that “should,” in terms of aging should be one with less fun, joy, sex, love, care, and happiness.
How we formulate a picture of 30+ is primarily based on the models of the past. We use baby boomers 30+ and Gen X 30+ as a model because we have nothing else to source from. But we all know that baby boomer and Gen X 30+ is not millennial and soon to be Gen Z 30+. Those are two different 30+ because society is different, freedoms are different, resources are different, and career options are different. So, when we are developing a picture of what that looks like we have to steer away from the models of the past.
Because when we look at it objectively it is a time that seems very sad, with drugs, the Aids epidemic, parents who thought abuse was acceptable in child-rearing, being raised by parents who didn’t know how to work through their emotions and having to make adult decisions way before they were ready to. This seems tough and is tough, and despite our similar social and political framework, we have more resources to cope with the harsh realities of life vs what our parents or grandparents had.
As a result of this lack of an updated model, we have a deep-down yearning for a vision to work towards One that does not have us miserable like baby boomers in their 30s, tripped up like Gen- X 30s, and at times lost like millennials 30. This is where our imagination, conviction, needs, wants, and desires must show up. They must show up regardless of shame, society, or the models of the past. They must show up because hope and joy are emotions we must preserve, and we must stay firm in this conviction that these two feelings matter because they do and they are needed to live.
· To develop a new model of aging, we must first let go of what we know aging to be. Aging is not what our parents or grandparents did, it is what we are doing now and even though people try to place a cloud over our heads, how we live is fun and life-affirming.
· Next, we must use models from unlikely places. I use the fun the girlies were having in sex and the city, they aged and evolved, but the fun did not escape them. I also use Tracee Ellis Ross as a model of what it looks like to protect your joy and hope.
· We must stop letting should dictate our moods. Yes, people say you shouldn’t be out dancing past a certain age. Or you shouldn’t be doing youthful activities at a certain age. but what do you want to do? If you want to do that, stop allowing a choir filled with
nobodies to dictate how you spend your life. Furthermore, you have one life. It is short and if you don’t take advantage of fun, you will be on your deathbed regretting that you let people who aren’t you control your life.
· Next, find a community of like-minded people. If you are fun and like to do whatever it is you like to do, find people who do that. They will not only be great friends but also, they will never shame you for something they also like
· If you aren’t following the traditional timeline, live in an area or find friends whose emphasis is on self-determination. When you have people around you living like you, you don’t feel odd, left out, or confused by your path, because it is being reflected everywhere around you.
· Finally, remember that joy and happiness are not for only one age group and seriousness is only for the other. Life is complex and people are complex, therefore you will experience an array of emotions every year you age. So, stop trying to cut feelings off just so you can appease people who are not you.
So, stew on this information, and on that note, take care!