"Age is Just a Number."

March 5, 2024

"Age is Just a Number."

May 29, 2023

I'd correct this and suggest, 'Age is a piece of lumber' because often, ageism feels like getting hit by a 2x4 on the head. I really don't like the phrase 'age is just a number,' partly because it's become cliché, mainly because it feels like Pollyanna failed at math.

As many of you know, I do love this Satchel Paige quote: "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you was?" It's a timeless quote based upon the fact that Satchel didn't know his age when he was called up to Major League Baseball as a 48-year-old African-American rookie long ago. The dude was "age-fluid," someone undefined by their age or generation but also willing to own his wisdom while being curious about his future. 

Americans are so weird about age. Say to someone, "Do you mind if I ask your age?" it feels like you've asked someone about their sex life. I asked that question to someone the other day, and they said they were "age-agnostic," but I considered them "age-afraid" as if to sweep age under the rug, suggesting it's dirty. When Americans are asked what "being old" means, the most popular response is 85, yet the average lifespan of Americans is nearly a decade younger. Does that mean that most Americans never get old? I guess that's what we hope, emulating Peter Pan.

If I could rename MEA, I'd call it "Old School" and hope that my friend and MEA faculty member Ashton Applewhite would be okay with that as I love her anti-ageism clearinghouse (Ashton is teaching at MEA Baja later this year). It would be a place where people learn some of the subtle talents of older people: easy intimacy, acute perceptiveness, the splendor of recognizing other's gifts, the ability to exhibit moral beauty, and the intuition to know what to give a f*ck about. I wish I'd gone to this school in my twenties. 

And, of course, there's the ability to have a sense of humor when all your other senses are breaking down. I stumbled upon this Middle-Aged Humor Facebook group that's sort of awful but also awesome at the same time. Aging is about alchemy: blending the awful and the awesome, the gravitas and the levity. 

-Chip

P.S. For those of you who’ve been asking for a Spanish-speaking MEA workshop in Baja, we have one on Navigating Transitions of Life coming up April 7-13. This will be led by our co-founder Jeff Hamaoui and bestselling author and MEA faculty member Carl Honoré. 

Para aquellos de ustedes que han estado solicitando un taller MEA en español en Baja, tenemos uno sobre Navegando las Transiciones de la Vida que se realizará del 7 al 13 de abril. Esto estará dirigido por nuestro cofundador Jeff Hamaoui y el autor de bestsellers y miembro de la facultad de MEA, Carl Honoré.

Go deeper with a workshop, in person or online.

wo-sfe-24-012

Still Coming Out: Our Evolving Identity as Older LGBTQ+ People

June 17, 2024
 to 
June 22, 2024
Santa Fe, USA
wo-sfe-24-010

A Lifetime of Women’s Wellness: Thriving through Transitions with Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz

June 24, 2024
 to 
June 29, 2024
Santa Fe, USA
wo-baja-24-030

Navigating Transitions with Barb Tint & Jeff Hamaoui

Jun 24, 2024
 to 
Jun 29, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Navigating Transitions with Barb Tint & Jeff Hamaoui

June 24, 2024
 to 
June 29, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Jun 24, 2024
 to 
Jun 29, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Still Coming Out: Our Evolving Identity as Older LGBTQ+ People

June 17, 2024
 to 
June 22, 2024
Santa Fe, USA

Blue Zones: Optimizing Your Longevity

Jun 17, 2024
 to 
Jun 22, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Jun 17, 2024
 to 
Jun 22, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Blue Zones: Optimizing Your Longevity

June 17, 2024
 to 
June 22, 2024
Baja, Mexico
Jun 17, 2024
 to 
Jun 22, 2024
Baja, Mexico

A Lifetime of Women’s Wellness: Thriving through Transitions with Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz

June 24, 2024
 to 
June 29, 2024
Santa Fe, USA