For all you visual learners out there, here’s a somewhat abstract blog post.
I’ve been reading some research from Jeanette Leardi who explores, in a brief post of her own, the question “What’s your relationship with Aging?” Jeanette invites us to think about living with ageing as like having a relationship with another person. Who would that person be, and what could be your relationship to them? Jeanette explores four possibilities.
Your relationship with ageing could be like a relationship to a stranger – a shadowy figure you really want to ignore. Some people are simply in denial about ageing. Ageing is what happens to other people – not to me.
What about this feller?
For some, ageing is an enemy – someone in whose presence you feel vulnerable and threatened. We deploy various weapons against this tenacious opponent, some more useful than others. Healthy eating, looking after ourselves, Botox, anti-wrinkle cream can all be added to our armoury.
Or how about this?
Ageing could be more like a neighbour with whom you get on OK but don’t really want to see all that often. They have to be in your life since they are better than the alternative. Ageing is like a neighbour you tolerate, rather than one whose company you enjoy. When you meet this neighbour you experience more frequent aches and pains, and other evidence of decline.
But what if…
What if ageing was more like a friend whom you get to know more and more intimately as time goes on? Sure, you will have your ups and downs, but this friend has a lot to give you that will make your life so much the richer for knowing them. And like a friend you appreciate, this friend is someone whose dignity you think is worth standing up for. When people seek to diminish your friend’s importance, through ageist comments and behaviours, you’re inclined to stand up for them as you would for any other friend you saw being pushed around.
Stranger, neighbour, foe or friend. Who is ageing to you?