(This post is made possible with support from AARP’s Disrupt Aging campaign. All opinions are my own.)
On my 19th birthday, I distinctly remember saying to my best friend, “I’m getting old.”
Yup. 19 years and I was practically ready to start researching senior homes.
Where had I gotten this clearly crazy idea?!
Cindy Gallop, a legendary advertising exec, digital entrepreneur and the founder of MakeLoveNotPorn knows exactly why.
(Photo credit: Brady Hahn)
Gallop says, our attitudes towards age and aging are set very early.
We hear our mothers not want to mention their age.
We are influenced by pop culture that often seems to only value youth.
And the advertising industry can promote this idea to ridiculous lengths. “We live in a world where beauty manufacturers sell beauty aging cream to teenage girls,” says Gallop.
I’m definitely starting to understand why my 19 year old self was worried about my fleeting youth.
So we know the problem. And according to Gallop, women can take an active role in fixing it.
First step, don’t hide your age.
Gallop is 57 and she’s happy to divulge this information.
“I tell everyone how old I am as often as possible. I shout it from the rooftops. I deliberately do that. There is this feeling that women should not tell anyone their age.”
There is nothing shameful about the number of years you have been on the planet. Gallop believes it’s something to be celebrated.
“Older people are fantastic. I live in New York. I will look at older women I pass and I will think, you have an amazing story behind you and I wish I knew what it was,” she says.
Let your children hear you proudly speak your age. Let them absorb this.
Second step, promote your own value.
As you age, you bring skills and experience to life and your job. Champion what you bring to the table.
“I encourage older women, especially in the work place, to actively promote their own value. We have tremendous value. Great leaders. Great negotiators. Get paid what you should get paid for it,” Gallop says.
And young women need to also promote what they can offer…. which is a lot.
Gallop says, young women are often dismissed and their ideas are not valued. She wants every teenage girl to understand the fresh perspective she brings at that age.
Third, you’re never too old to do anything.
Gallop tells a story about a palm reader who looked at her palm and said, “You’re only half way.” (She was about 50 at the time.)
It was a poignant moment for her. Because her 50th birthday didn’t signify the end, but rather a midway point on what could and will be an extraordinary journey.
Gallop says, life is opening up. Not shutting down.
“There are so many opportunities to take everything you’ve learned, experienced in the course of your life and your older years are the perfect opportunity to leverage that to do what you want to do.”
So it’s time to disrupt aging. And for women to define themselves for who they really are.
Gallop says, “I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. We are prepared to stand up for ourselves. I encourage all women to do that.”
Maybe we can all begin today by trying to be a bit more like Cindy Gallop.
(This is a sponsored post. All ideas are my own)