Let’s discuss it: Getting older in America


The end of another year is upon us. Which means we all will have aged another year. And before us is a new year, another year of aging.

Unfortunately, aging and the aged in our society is not as revered as it is in some cultures. “Older” in America is not looked upon as being better.

But older can be better. Aging is much like life itself, it is what you make of it.

On articles.mercola.com Dr. Joseph Mercola writes, “Age is largely a state of mind, and you’re really only as old or as young as you feel…Your mindset as you age can actually help you to live longer, provided it’s a positive one.”

Unfortunately, too many of us listen too closely to media hype and marketing strategy to determine how we should age.

We are told that men will become less sexually active unless they take a pill. We are told women will be less sexually attractive if they don’t buy hundreds of dollars’ worth of cosmetics.

In reality, the money would be better spent on a good pair of walking shoes. It’s amazing how young (and sexy) you can feel just by taking a long walk with a friend or a loving partner.

Another bit of hype thrown at us is that as we age we become less productive and less useful to society.

In an article titled Productive Aging And Work, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, “Today, one in every five American workers is over 65, and in 2020, one in four American workers will be over 55….” Combine that with the number of “older” people who do charity and volunteer work and a totally different image of aging and productivity emerges.

Sadly, too many of us succumb to the media hype that we should “act our age”.

It is too easy daily to only look at the small picture of life that we see around us. If we are of a certain age, we are asked when we plan on retiring. We hear friends, family, and co-workers talking about their one dream in life being the day they can retire.

However, if we look beyond our little piece of the world, we see a different reality in regards to aging. A good example is the Supreme Court Justices. Justice Anthony Kennedy is 80-years-old, Justice Clarence Thomas is 68 years-old, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 83-years-old.

The justices are people who make decisions every day that have a serious impact on our lives. Yet, how often have you heard any rumblings that they should have retired at the magic age of 65-years-old?

Another example is the late John Glenn, an Ohio Senator who was the first American to orbit the earth. At the age of 77 he once again went into space. This time to help experts study the effects of aging on the human body. The point here is that great things would have been lost to America and the World if he had bought into the hype that there is a magic age number where we become less productive and contribute less to society.

Because of our preconceived ideas of aging, some that we are not even aware of consciously, if I asked you, “Who do you think is more productive, a 42-year-old man or a 74-year-old woman?”, you would probably say the 42-year-old man.

However, the reality would be that the 42-year-old man is obese with type 2 diabetes while the 74-year-old woman is a marathon runner who owns her own business.

Benito Mussolini once said, “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a lamb.” Some of the greatest achievements in life have been made by those 55 years-old and older. I believe those achievements were made by people who lived each day as a lion, regardless of their age.

So, I would say to you, live each day as a lion, regardless of your age, and you just might live to be 100, with some of your greatest achievements in life made after that supposedly magic age of 65 that so many tell you should be the time to retire from a full life.

Johni Hipple lives in Galion. She is a speaker, author, facilitator and the founder of Johni Hipple Freelance. A graduate of the University of Kentucky in Sociology, a graduate of Hondros college in Real Estate, and a Marine Corps veteran, Johni is a prolific and compassionate writer who uses words to share knowledge, experience, and ideas that will make a positive difference in the lives of others. If you have a thought, idea or suggestion about this column, share it with Inquirer editor Russ Kent at rkent@civitasmedia.com.

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Johni Hipple

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Johni Hipple lives in Galion. She is a speaker, author, facilitator and the founder of Johni Hipple Freelance. A graduate of the University of Kentucky in Sociology, a graduate of Hondros college in Real Estate, and a Marine Corps veteran, Johni is a prolific and compassionate writer who uses words to share knowledge, experience, and ideas that will make a positive difference in the lives of others. If you have a thought, idea or suggestion about this column, share it with Inquirer editor Russ Kent at rkent@civitasmedia.com.