Just Call Me “Snopes”

I’ve recently become interested in a topic that I refer to as “Myths About Aging.”

What is a myth? It’s a story that “everyone knows” and accepts and has usually been around for awhile. And
while there may be a grain of
truth in some of these stories, many myths are wild exaggerations, often reflecting cultural biases or fears.

So when it comes to aging, there’s no easy ‘urban myth buster’ site like Snopes.com so many of us repeat
myths even though most are a subtle form of self-defeating behavior. Other categories include “gross generalizations” and
the “just plain false.”

If you’re interested in looking at these myths yourself, listen for senior citizens using the phrase “I’m too old to …” Unfortunately, the blanks at the ends of those sentences are usually filled by a senior mentioning (and not doing) something that they’d really like to do. Some that I’ve heard lately include: “I’m too old to wear my hair down.” “I’m too old for romance.” “I’m too old to get on an airplane.” “I’m too old to exercise.” “I’m too old to take a class.”

Predictable? Boring.? Yep. So, what’s my fascination? Quite frankly, I wonder why we do it. Myths feed stereotypes. More important for me, is
that when I don’t challenge these ideas, I allow
other people to decide how I should live
this part of my life. And, like at other times of my life, I’m not ready to do
that.

While not inherently dangerous, myths become part of our culture. They are accepted and retold. But the ones that 1 listed can be dangerous at any age: they are excuses for not trying something that might be new, different, difficult and maybe even fun.

“Whether you think you can or you; think you can’t – you’re right.” I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said that. We are living longer. It may just be time to start developing some, stories about how to live better.

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3 Responses to “Just Call Me “Snopes””

  1. badmammy Says:

    Aren’t there some things we are, indeed, too old for? I agree with it being used as an excuse or ploy for attention but when I look at my flabby arms, even though I work out occasionally, I know that I am too old for certain styles of clothes.

  2. Don’t you think that there are people who look for excuses to justify their choices? “I’m too old” is a pretty easy, socially-endorsed one to use — IF a person is looking for that sort of thing.

    People who are NOT looking for excuses tend to respond to those “truisms” by saying “Oh, yeah…. who said so???” and doing what they want.

    Maybe the issue is that people think they should want to do certain things but really don’t (want to). And as far as flabby arms go I think that people who don’t like them (mine) probably shouldn’t look when I go sleeveless! 😉

  3. badmammy Says:

    Maybe it’s all about me & my comfort level. I know I can wear whatever I want to but, come on, certain styles on certain folks look tacky or ridiculous. When I was younger & slimmer I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a swimsuit. Now I pop on on & get in the pool with everyone else. What I do love about being older is that I do not care what others I don’t even know think about me.

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