Ageism: Out Of The Closet And Not Done Yet

07/12/2016 06:41 am ET Updated Jul 13, 2017

It does seem to me that I have always been either too young or worrisomely too old.

In 1974, I cut my hair which had been hippie-style long, parted in the middle, and sometimes embellished with a tie-dyed scarf hovering over my eyebrows. I was going on a job interview to be the Executive Director for a non-profit. It didn't bother me that I lacked any experience whatsoever. I was full of enthusiasm and self-confidence, otherwise known as chutzpah. But my interviewer said, "You have great ideas but we are looking for an older, more motherly person." There were few laws for interviewing then. This was my first professional exposure to both ageism and sexism.

After leading that organization for 12 years (yep, I talked my way into that job anyway), a partner and I started our own consulting firm. Now it is the 1980s, and I had a wardrobe of big-shouldered suits in dark colors mimicking a look of a serious businessman - even though we were women in our 30s. We designed a brochure in grey. Nothing young; nothing feminine.

After 15 years, our company was acquired and I worked for the company that acquired us. Slowly, I began to think maybe my age is ok and the fact that I am a woman is not a hindrance. And the years went on and somehow so did I.

I decided in 2009 that after all these decades in the corporate world, I wanted to lead a non-profit once again. But by this time I was over 60-years-old and I thought nobody is going to want to work with me to start up a non-profit because they will think I will want to retire shortly. But thanks to good genes, good health, and a wad of money thrown regularly at my hair salon, I don't look my age. And I wasn't about to disclose it.

After seven years leading that non-profit, I recently left to devote full-time to developing my new business, The Did Ya Notice? Project. I write and speak to proselytize the importance of mindfulness, being in the moment, alert and focused and Noticing the little things that matter. Am I too old to start a new business? Them's fightin' words, my friends.

Until now, I have never told my age. After I was a closeted young person, I became a closeted old person. But now I will come out. I thank Betty White and Bernie Sanders, both of whom made "old" cool. I am not a trailblazing anti-ageism fighter. I have been a closeted coward. But here goes:

I am the same age as Hillary, and younger than Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger. I am 68. I am full of energy and ideas and I ain't done yet.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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