Lessons Learned: Lifting the Gray Ceiling

I’m alarmed to hear older, or even middle aged, people saying that they’ve given up a hobby or something they enjoy doing because of their age. It’s not so much that they physically can’t do it anymore; it’s more like society telling them that it’s not age appropriate. I say screw that train of thought!

The baby boomers are here to prove that age doesn’t matter. If you can still do what you love to do…go for it! A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a co-worker who told me about his mentor, a consultant, who travels to help different companies improve their processes. He’s always been looked up to and respected…until now. In his late seventies, he’s noticed that people are stepping out of his way, opening doors for him, and second-guessing his opinion. According to my co-worker, this guy is healthy, smart, and sharp as a tack. He’s not showing signs of slowing down, and he loves sharing his experience. As my co-worker called it, the “gray ceiling” is getting in the way. It’s up to the baby boomers to lift that ceiling and prove that age doesn’t matter.

Another gray ceiling lifter is Christine McVie rejoining Fleetwood Mac at the age of seventy. She’s getting back into something that she loves to do. Think of the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. They continue to write and produce music, along with performing on stage. They are still rocking with the best of them.

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac

This is a lesson to learn for everyone. No matter your age, do what you enjoy doing. Don’t put a cap on it because someone tells you that you’re too old. If you love playing music, join a band. If you love to write, continue to write. If you love swinging on a swing set, then go swing. There may come a time when you can’t continue because of health reasons. You may have to compromise and find different ways of doing what you love to do. For example, you love bowling but you can no longer lift the heavy ball. Wii Bowing is a good replacement.

Most important is that you gave it your all. You didn’t let society tell you that you couldn’t do it. You helped lift the gray ceiling.

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