I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately. It occurred to me, ever since I can remember that there seemed to be certain expectations that you needed to follow in life. It struck me as true when a friend asked, “I really want to know. What’s the real reason why you never wanted kids?” She said it in a what’s wrong with you tone. I was in my mid-thirties at the time.

While we’re on the subject, I certainly don’t want to leave out the ultimate question. “Won’t you miss not having grandchildren when you’re older?” Inevitably my response was always, “I love children. I was a camp counsellor for years, taught children, and work and hang out with kids of all ages.” Said in what always feels like a robotic tone. Followed by, “I never felt the need to have kids of my own. And it’s still the best decision I ever made (for me).” I usually leave out the ‘best decision’ part as I find many people don’t get it, or me. I’m already getting disapproving looks without having to say just how happy I am about it.

Interestingly, it doesn’t stop there. In life we’re eyeballing and assessing others when we try figuring out a person’s age, appearance, style, or anything else that’s visual. We’re wondering. And we wonder a lot. 

Clearly if you’re not comfortable in your own skin, especially as you age, you may feel that you’re being judged. Judged by pre-conceived ideas or notions of what your age is supposed to reveal about you. You see it everywhere – when you’re watching TV – the news or a show that’s viewed by an older demographic – commercials for prescription drugs announcing all the aliments you probably should be having. The 55+ images of grey hair and taking strolls (maybe with a shawl over the shoulders). It’s wrong on so many levels.

No one’s new to the stigma of aging and the shoulds that go along with it. For example – You should be married by a certain age. Have kids. Push for grandkids. A house. A retirement date in mind. A stereotyped plan of how you should be aging and leading your life. Oh, and I love the one where you’re unhappy at work and still grinding it out or settling for 2-weeks’ vacation a year so you can finally retire and enjoy travel and life. Ballocks. That’s ridiculous. And hey, this may not be you at all, and yet just in case it is …

There are no certainties in life. You could be dead by the time you decide to ‘enjoy your life.’ 

Speaking of work … Why is it faux pas to say that you have 40 years’ experience in something – even as a kick-ass entrepreneur or generalist? No assumptions should ever be made that one may be slower or not as motivated as one ages. Not true. Think Norman Lear when you read this back to yourself. 

The idea that as you age, you’re now feeble morons that just want others to guide your life, which I’ve seen from my mother’s friends’ children, is insulting.

I’ll never forget the time my mother was looking to move. She asked me to come along for the ride to see a few places. Her new realtor, whom she hadn’t met yet was showing us this one place and as she was talking, she looked directly at me when asking questions. Every time I shifted my eye contact to my mother as if to say, “Ask my mom!” Happily, I didn’t have to as my mother noticed this disrespect and quickly said, “Why do you keep asking my daughter questions, when I’m the one looking to buy? I smiled and thought, yes! Rock on, mom. Good on ya. After that experience my mother found another realtor. Yeah!

I will never fit the mold of what you think I should be at a certain age. I never have. As vibrant as I was when I was kid, I’d say I have more energy and curiosity than ever before. You probably do too?

Goofing around, playing, being silly and having adventures keeps you creative and energized, or whatever adjectives best describes you when embracing curiosity, wonder and fun.

Yes, age is just a number. It’s a state of mind. I’m a kid at heart. I aspire to be Norman Lear-esq. The 90+ genius writer that’s still working and generating ideas. And of course, he is!

Sadly, what happens is when you hear often that you’re supposed to be a certain way at a certain age it sets a kind of tone IF you listen to it long enough. It’s noisy. Distracting. I encourage you to ignore it.

Changing your actions changes your state of mind. Not the other way round. It starts by recognizing the stigma of ageism and doing something about it. Listen, talk, act, be, educate yourself, and create awareness around how you want to be treated, and you and I will change the narrative. Small steps daily lead to larger leaps over time.


  • Amy Goldberg

    Founder + CEO @ Push Back [Action, Growth, Engagement Strategist, Writer], International Speaker, Author, Producer [Creative Entrepreneur]

    Push Back

    Amy Goldberg is a creative entrepreneur + founder + CEO of Push Back; 'creating things to inspire people.' Often you need to push back to push forward. Amy's book BE YOUR TRUTH shows people how to identify, defeat, and deconstruct the inner barriers preventing us from taking decisive action. Her work includes creative producing, action, growth & connection strategy, business building, well-being advocating and writing. She works with several business sectors and thrives where she can share how to rethink and redefine the way business is run, and how one can lead a vibrant and optimistic life.