Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By is one of my top 5 favorite bloggers. She writes with power and perception about aging and agism from 500 different directions and has a readership that leaves insightful comments. Go meet her.
In a recent post, (and this interview, too) she is at it again. Whether you consider yourself a 'boomer' or not aging does/will affect us all. And Ronni (and her commenters) bring much to the discussion.
I agree with her about most things most of the time. Very cool, thoughtful writer...
This time, while I still agree with both of these articles, I feel there is a bigger picture. One key word is 'marketing'. Another is our 'culture'. Pieces of the same thing and all a part of the world we've built in this part of the world where we measure a person's worth by the size, quantity, cost, or net worth...all those things that describe the same things.
We buy & sell things. We Westerners (perhaps led by we Americans) like to buy & sell. We are encouraged to create a better mousetrap and make our fortunes. It's the American dream, after all.
To do that, we market to each other.
It has skewed our thinking.
And because we are so connected all over the place now, we can't just sell things to our neighbors as we see their needs/desires. We have to guess now, at what people want. We have to 'target' the appropriate 'segments' of the 'market'. And they (with our permission) begin to hammer us into the holes that fit their 'marketing niches'. What! You have square corners?! Whack-Bang! There now, see how well you fit?
And since we all want things - whether we need them or not is no longer relevant - we absorb the 'marketing messages'. They come at us from every direction; only the most vigilant can hold the number down. Anyone plugged into 'the media' could be hit with as many as 5,000 marketing messages a day.
What?! How many?! 5000 - Five Thousand - five-friggin'-thousand marketing messages a day.
And we, in general, have given those 'market researchers' the right to decide what we need, what we want, how we should look, what brand of this-that-or the-other-thing will make us whole or worthy or good-enough or young enough or... The list goes on forever. It goes on because we 'should' this, or 'should' that.
And some of us who think, or who notice that we don't get the 'proper' attention from the media or the marketers, or who have learned the difference between our toys and our substance begin to be concerned.
For some, the battle is right out in front of everybody - in the trenches where Ronni and others are; pointing out the problems with our language and our marketing campaigns that feed the agist, sexist, racist (& all the other 'ists' and 'isms') notions we get fed.
I believe her. I value her efforts to open the eyes of the marketers, the media, the researchers, and even the eyes of the elders to the subtle and not-so-subtle ways of the world we have built.
For me, right now, the battle is internal. And I still do my knee-jerk thing about it sometimes, when my reaction is so reactionary that it proves points rather than refuting them. Oh, well; I'm human.
But what I'm learning, and what I want to model in the world, is a really different picture of what is valuable.
What do I want more; an IPod or Integrity? What do I want to teach; fighting against or standing for? What feeds me? What drains me? Only I can really know these answers for myself. This is true for each individual whether awake or asleep, whether commanding the vessel or rowing from down below decks.
Ageism? you betcha!
And I'll take the steps Ronni (and others) might suggest - the ones that fit for me. All the while, I'll be practicing unplugging, turning off, and doing my own research on what will take me closer to myself.
It's not about self-help (though I've certainly walked that road in the past), and it's not about religion or a capital G god. It's just about me and right now and being/becoming conscious of all the choices I have to make about the Who of me. What thoughts, behaviors, belief systems, and yes, things/conditions will I embrace on my way to modelling more love on this planet?
I want to embody my potential for Greatest Good. I want 'to be the change' I want to see in the world. I want peace & love to be my legacy. And if I have a sermon to preach, it's this one.