Does My Age Define Me?

June 27, 2021

Does My Age Define Me?

May 29, 2023

One of the things I love about MEA is our spirited debates during meals overlooking the ocean. A few weeks ago, one of our Sabbatical Sessions guests told us that her daughter cautioned her, "Your age defines you, Mom!" Our guest responded with, "My stage in life might define me, but my age doesn’t."

This led to a rollicking intellectual joust on this topic. No matter what demographic we’re talking about, I don’t know many folks who say their Age/Gender/Race/Ethnicity/Religion/Sexual Orientation defines them. However, my sense is the more "ism" you may feel due to your demographic, the more you may rebel or embrace the idea that "it" defines you.

So, if age doesn’t define us, is there an alternative way to describe how age influences our point of view in life? Here are ten alternative verbs. Do any of these feel right to you?

  • My age enlightens me.
  • My age informs me.
  • My age humbles me.
  • My age guides me.
  • My age affects me.
  • My age shapes me.
  • My age transforms me.
  • My age eludes me.
  • My age inspires me.
  • My age teases me.

Or maybe you think, "my age is none of your (or my) damn business!" As Satchel Paige suggested, "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?" In other words, my age doesn’t have to be a jail sentence. Instead, it could be a gateway to a new mindset: one that serves without limiting. Yale's Becca Levy has shown that when people shift their mindset on aging from a negative or neutral to a positive, they gain 7.4 years of additional life.

And I’m willing to bet that those are probably going to be really happy years as well.

Go deeper with a workshop, in person or online.

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