Giving Voice to Your Internal Ageism, Metallica-style

July 16, 2022

Giving Voice to Your Internal Ageism, Metallica-style

May 29, 2023

TED speaker and MEA Sabbatical Sessions teacher Ashton Applewhite is a fierce activist slaying the last socially-acceptable “ism”: Ageism. She writes: “The sooner growing older is stripped of reflexive dread, the better equipped we are to benefit from the countless ways in which it can enrich us.”

James Hetfield is the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, co-founder, and main songwriter of the heavy metal band Metallica. On May 12, at a concert in Brazil, Hetfield outed himself and his internal ageism, as shown in this two-minute video. His open display of vulnerability, revealing his insecurities about getting older and his fears that he can no longer perform at the peak of his abilities, led to a big group hug on stage by the rest of the band. And the huge audience didn’t seem to care that Hetfield was pushing 60. Maybe they love that fact!

Academic Becca Levy has shown that when we shift our mindset around aging from a negative to a positive, we gain 7.5 years of additional life. I think we can assume those are happy years as well.

What are three perspectives you have on aging that should be given a forced retirement? Here are three of mine, along with a reframed retort for each (in italics):

  1. I will never be handsome again. Based upon whose judgment?
  2. Sex will never be as good as it used to be. How might it evolve to be MORE satisfying?
  3. My mind isn’t as crisp as it once was. But, my intuition seems to be better than ever.


Now, it’s your turn. Maybe a wise MEA-savvy friend can help you with your reframed retorts.

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