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The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.
-Robert Frost

How old is too old?

The answer really depends on who’s doing the the asking (and answering).

Enter one of the hottest topics of the over 50 set.


Research conducted by AARP shows that older workers experience considerably longer job searches than their younger counterparts and 44% of workers over 50 feel that they’ve personally experienced some form of ageism.

I recently read a horrifying statistic from the Urban Institute which suggests that HALF of full time workers between the ages of 50 and 54 will leave their jobs involuntarily.

Clearly, we all need to be working together to shift the perception of what it means to be over 50.

But there’s more to see here.

If 44% of us have experienced ageism, that means that 56% haven’t. And even if (gulp) 50% of 50-54 year olds lose their jobs, the other 50% won’t.

Now, I’m not suggesting – even remotely – that you “look on the bright side” here. On the contrary, Wendy and I at Camp Reinvention on a mission to change the culture around aging entirely.

What I am suggesting is that you don’t have to wait for the culture to change.

You can become a part of it, and in doing so…

…you can become one of the outliers.

Last week, we had a conversation with David Stewart* from AGEIST about how easy it is for us to unintentionally perpetuate ageism biases.

The truth is, the more you fear something, the more you defend yourself against it.

And trust me, a defensive posture is never the one that will move you forward.

Here’s an example…

Sally has an interview.

She’s fearful that she looks too old. She anticipates that her skills and experience will be perceived as irrelevant. She worries about having to prove that she’s capable of navigating an industry that’s different than the one she’s left behind.

Sally is in defensive mode.

When you’re feeling defensive:

  • You’re in fixed rather than a growth mindset.

  • Your natural curiosity is squelched.

  • You’ll tend to do more explaining than relating.

  • And worst of all, due to the mind’s natural confirmation bias, you’ll likely find the evidence to bear out whatever you fear most.

Don’t be Sally.

Lean into wisdom. Allow yourself to embrace the power, beauty and grace that comes with experience and let that feed your confidence.

Most importantly, stay open and curious.

In the words of David Stewart, the surest way to defeat ageism is to “interact with others in a way that elevates them.”

In our book, that’s the very definition of wisdom.