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Growing Bolder in 2011: It's Not About Age. It's About Attitude.

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Remember when no dream seemed too big? When the future was filled with possibility? Now we're led to believe that dreams come with an expiration date.

Here's a secret. You've been programmed to give up; brainwashed into believing that when your skin begins to wrinkle, your dreams begin to die. The stereotypes of ageism -- propagated by the mainstream media are embedded in our national psyche -- make many of us dread what can be the best days of our lives.

Madison Avenue and Hollywood don't respect you, your dreams or even your money. The 30-somethings who think they run the world are infatuated with youth. They fail to realize that a large segment of today's 50+ population is unlike any 50+ demographic in history in the way you live, think, spend, work, play and dream.

That they fail to realize your value and potential is unfortunate and will have an increasingly negative impact on their bottom line. That you fail to realize your value and potential is tragic. Don't believe their propaganda. If your mind accepts the negative stereotypes of aging so will your body. Dreams are not about age. They're about attitude.

Don't wait for permission from our culture or inspiration from our mainstream media to live the life you want. If you're unhappy with your life, it's up to you to change. If you long for more, then go get it. Quit waiting for a better life to find you and quit waiting for permission to find it. Get off the couch and get into life. Happiness is not about age. It's about attitude.

Take a chance. Take a big chance. To be afraid to fail is to be afraid to live. Don't sit back. Lean forward and take life head on. Don't let your only source of inspiration be the creativity of others. Find your passion and pursue it. The act of personal creation is one of life's greatest joys. And don't stop if you fail because you probably will. Refine, adjust and try again. And again. Passion is not about age. It's about attitude.

Reinvent yourself. And if that doesn't work, reinvent yourself again. Be optimistic about the future and take a leap of faith. Surround yourself with believers who support your dreams.

Ageism, like racism and sexism, is deeply rooted in fear and ignorance. It fuels hate, prejudice and misunderstanding and threatens not only our future but also that of our children and grandchildren. The most powerful weapon we have is the simple example of an ordinary person living an extra ordinary life. Be that person.

If you want to leave a real legacy, here's your chance. It doesn't take money, brains or brawn. It only takes heart. It's not about age. It's about attitude.

Marc Middleton's work can also be found here.

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