It’s funny. Old age means endurance, continuity, survival. Things to appreciate, right? But popular culture seems to focus more on the negative than the positive aspects of growing older. In film and television, older adults are frequently depicted as feeble-minded, doddering, gullible and socially inept. Academic discussions of later life have traditionally emphasized loss and decrepitude. Common slang for seniors is painfully denigrating: “old geezer, old codger, old biddy, old bat.” News coverage seems to spotlight adversity in later life (poverty, dementia, isolation…). Maybe it’s just that “bad news sells.” Maybe it’s “ageism”: bigotry against old people.”

This quote comes from the website of the Positive Ageing movement in the US, a movement which has as its aim transforming the culture of ageing in America.

I turned 65 a few weeks ago, yet I still participate in all the physical activities I did when I was 55.  Maybe I feel a little more tired after the exercise, and maybe I move a little more slowly and am stiffer after.  But, my brain actually feels more stimulated than it did when I was 55 and in the rut and stress of working 40-60 hours a week.  Yes, I am ageing, but I certainly don’t see myself as feeble-minded, doddering, or an old codger.  Couldn’t be further from it as far as I am concerned!

On the same vein, the indigenous tribes all over the world revere and honour their elders for their wisdom. Yet, modern day western society shunts their elders off to an old age home to stare blankly at a television screen till they die.  What does that say about our society?

I signed up with a Coach last week, who told me about the Positive Ageing movement.  Together we discussed the fact that the word retirement seems to create visions of senility, incapacity, useless, burden, and many other scary things.  Is this why people are so reluctant to prepare for retirement?

As I have said many times over the past year in my newsletters, retirement for me is the start of my third act.  I have no intention of losing my independence and restricting my life before I turn 80.  Yes, I will do things differently. I will look at how I can use my energy more efficiently and effectively, and be more strategic in my thinking as a start.

I left my initial meeting with my coach realising that the biggest obstacle in my way as a retirement coach is probably the name.  It is what people conjure up in their minds when I say I am a retirement coach, that makes them say, “No, not for me!”

So I put this question to you, my trusted community.  I am pretty sure most of you are in your 60’s, so you are my ideal target audience.

What should I call myself if I prepare people to enter their 60’s and 70’s as contributing citizens, leading a meaningful and  relevant, as well as integrated life?

I would love to hear your comments, so please enter the debate!!

Looking forward to your input