Thoughts on Aging
When you retire, part of the adjustment process will include some acceptance of the season of life you are entering. This does not imply that your talents, ambitions and dreams are finished. What is called for is a redefinition of your outlook and attitudes toward your own aging.
You may discover for the first time in the presence of older people that you are uncomfortable, dissatisfied with the sight of men and women of your age. Your reaction is understandable, in part, because whatever type of job you held before retirement, you were exposed to people of various ages. Your feelings, however, may reflect an attitude of "ageism--the prejudices and stereotypes that are applied to older people sheerly on the basis of their age" ( Butler, 1969).
Another explanation offered about attitudes toward older people is that of "gerontophobia--unreasonable fear and or constant hatred of older people" ( Bunzel, 1972). The foundation for attitudes on ageism and to a lesser degree gerontophobia may be based on one's personal history. In my opinion, they are partially explained by a denial of one's own aging.
Attitudes of denial about aging are understandable if one enjoys good health and has the vitality to continue to work or to participate in a variety of leisure activities. In fact, some of us have difficulty realizing we have reached the age of 60, 70, or 80. Our outlook is fresh and alive, and where we may acknowledge some physical decline, we do not feel our chronological age. The truth remains, however, we have joined the group of older citizens.