I enjoyed the session on "Blogging Into MidLife: The Tension Between the Online Spotlight and Offline Invisibility" which was held at BlogHer '12 earlier this month. It was nice to see some boomer girls on the podium and in the audience. There was a full crowd and we had a lively discussion about blogging about our life after 50.
Lynn Forbes, from employeetoemployme.com, moderated the panel. Lynn said that this topic is important because there are 77 million baby boomers in the U.S. and we are some of the highest-educated women.
"So is getting older bad?" Lynn asked the panel of boomer bloggers, which included Ann Dunnewold, PhD., from at anndunnewold.com, Darryle Pollack, from blog.darrylepollack.com, and Patricia Patton, from boomerwizdom.com.
"It's all around us. In phrases like 'over the hill.' It implies old is bad and young is good," said Dunnewold. The awareness factor helps break that trend. Dunnewold encouraged each of us in the room to stop saying negative statements like "She's too old to be wearing..." and to stop being too hard on ourselves. (I agree with Ann. Ooh, ooh, ooh, but I do think I am too old to wear a bikini. If Ann is right, maybe I should try one on. First I have to start doing sit-ups and plank asanas in yoga and get my six-pack abs and then I'll try on a bikini.)
"I'm not perceiving the way I am perceived," said Pollack. "So much of aging is how we feel." (That's so true. In some ways I feel younger today than I did 10 years ago. I have a boyfriend. Yes, I can say it now. I'm growing older and I have a boyfriend who is growing older too.)
As a woman of color, Patton said she went into the world without a mentor when she was younger. She dealt with racism and now ageism. Pat told us that she plays tennis with people who are 30 years younger than her. (Go Pat! Go Pat! Go Pat!) Patton calls it "aging young." "Find out what things in life bring you joy and celebrate that," said Patton. (I think Patton has the right philosophy. Many of my younger boomlet friends follow my fashion lead, including my daughter.)
What has blogging done for these women at this point in their lives?
"Blogging gives you a place to find your power," said Dunnewold.
"I was able to open myself to my authentic self from blogging," said Patton.
For me, blogging has opened up so many fun and exciting doors during my life after 50. It's enabled me to connect, meet and learn from so many fabulous, beautiful, interesting, smart, talented women like the ones on this panel, who I never would have known if I didn't blog.
The group agreed that how we choose our words can make a big difference to ageism. Instead of saying "you don't look 60″ say "you look great." Instead of saying "how do you feel about getting old?" you could say, "how do you feel about growing older?"
What can we do to change our attitudes during our life after 50? "Try a reverse mentor," said Dunnewold.
"It's starts with each of us," said Pollack. "The important thing is to take the lead."
Thank you Lynn, Ann, Darryle and Pat for all your advice. I'm ready to step up and be a positive force against ageism. I hope dear blog readers, you will join me.
Follow Judi Freedman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/judiboomergirl