It started out on a rainy day in January. Like the rest of overweight America, I had resurrected old New Year resolutions. I wandered into a branch of a not-to-be-identified weight loss program and approached a young lady sorting out pamphlets. After giving me the information I requested, she excitedly told me that I would also be able to access her blog, which she updated with helpful hints. She stopped, perusing my persona, and asked, “Do you know what a blog is?” Or said another way “You have white hair, which means you’re technologically illiterate.” I immediately felt furious. I responded in an icy tone, I have a blog. I think I saw her flinch, at least I hope I did. Our conversation went downhill from there. I ran through the rain back to my car, vowing not to join this group.
I thought later, I wish I had the sense not to get so defensive. I had lost a teachable moment. In my past career as a gerontological nurse practitioner, I met many older people who transcended the stereotypes of aging. They showed me how they dealt with the complexities of old age—with humor and humility. Will I be ready to confront ageism with panache when it happens again? And I am sure it will happen again.