September 6th, 2014 in Staten Island, NY –
As one of the speakers on TEDx StGeorge, Cindy Joseph talks about agism, silver hair and the Pro-Age Revolution.
Do you remember looking forward to getting older with enthusiasm and pride? When we were kids, we would claim every last bit of age that we possibly could, “I’m 7 and a half,” “I’m 9 and three quarters,” “I’m going to be 13,” and we couldn’t wait until we became 21.
And then something happened, something shifted, and we started believing that as time went by, we were going to become a lesser faded version of our previous self. Well, no wonder, what were we exposed to? What did we hear? Eventually, you’re gonna be past your prime, over the hill, washed up. We watched our elders become invisible and sent out to pasture. So, we came to fear telling our age, assuming that people would see us as having limitations.
And then there’s the graph of life, we all know it, it’s in the shape of a mountain. Life goes uphill, uphill, uphill, until we hit this imaginary peak, called the prime of life, and after that, it’s downhill from there. Well, if you think about it, if you live to be the average life span, the largest percentage of your life is downhill. Our future is doomed. So what do we do with that?
Well, and then there’s the thing about the billions of dollars being spent every year on Botox, anti-wrinkle cream, hair dye, cosmetic surgery, making it clear that our society has hit an all-time high of ageism. We all commit ageism against ourselves and each other on a daily basis.
Well, I was about 32 when I started seeing signs of my own aging. It came in the form of gray hair, and I wasn’t too freaked out about it because it wasn’t a whole lot. But by the time I was about 44-years-old, it had grown in all around my face, and I was really confronted by it, and I wasn’t gonna have it, and I went straight to the salon and a got a dye job.
But then over time, something unexpected started happening, I was becoming happier, healthier, wiser, I was becoming more authentically me. So, I started talking with my friends and acquaintances about it, and as I spoke, I saw the glint in their eyes of recognition, they were feeling the same thing too. We were realizing that getting older did not mean getting worse. Then I realized I was covering the very sign of my own aging, so that was it, I stopped dying my hair and I never looked back.
And here I am. Yes, so then what happened is, I’m out on the street minding my own business, and I am approached by a casting agent and asked to model for a worldwide fashion campaign. That was amazing. I felt like the universe had awarded me for making this bold move. So, now I was on a roll, like, “Watch out, here I come.” And I decided to call my gray hair silver, to give it the value and the recognition that it deserved. And then I put a name to this positive aging movement, and the pro-age revolution was born. Yeah.
So, I’m 63, and we baby boomers have reinvented every decade of our lives, never having accepted the status quo. Now we’re in our ’50s, our ’60s, our ’70s, and we’re still at it. We have proven that as life continues we become smarter, wiser, we have more self-knowledge, we continue to have adventures, challenges, and we’re continuing to live a passionate life.
So the good news is, it’s all make-believe. All these negative viewpoints and age are a make-believe. And we’re gonna to turn this graph of life on its end like this, and you become more, not less, and life expands and expands, and it’s an uphill journey all the way.
So, the pro-age revolution is about each one of us celebrating our lives at every single age, and most importantly sharing that with our children, our grandchildren, our neighbors, our friends, and our community. Let them know that you are just as vital now, at whatever age you are as you always have been. The pro-age revolution is about people across America coming together in the recognition that aging is simply another word for living.