EDITORIAL NOTE: Following the Business Innovation Factory conference I attended last week in Providence, Rhode Island, the organizers asked me to write a guest post about my experience with them.
You can read it, titled Participatory Design Studio on Aging, at their blog along with some nifty photographs of moi.
Meanwhile, here at TimeGoesBy:
”Everyone wants to live a long life but nobody wants to be old.”
It can be argued whether that was first said by Jonathan Swift, Johann von Goethe, Bernard Baruch or several others but its point has not changed in more than a 200 years: that we twist ourselves in knots trying to find ways to deny that we are old.
Instead, we reach for euphemisms. Golden ager, senior, third ager, older, boomer, mature, x years young are some of the conventional substitutes for “old.”
Since none of those words and phrases fool anyone, it makes no sense to use them; we all know what they stand for and worse, when they are spoken or written, the widely-held belief that it is shameful to be old is further reinforced.
In that way, every time someone uses a euphemism about my age, I am demeaned. They are saying that because my age makes me deficient, courtesy requires that the two of us – the person using the euphemism and me on the receiving end – must conspire to pretend I am not old. And further, I am supposed to be grateful that we do so.
The late, great George Carlin has an outstanding riff on the abomination of euphemisms for “old.”
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Carl Hansen: Funeral Goody Bags