by Crispin Baynes, The Wylde
It’s not often you find yourself at 5am tiptoeing down the corridor of an apartment building in Austin TX with a sound engineer, camera operator, and a load of podcast recording gear. As part of our research for The Wylde, we’d become interested in longevity and how the social narrative around ageism is changing. Like most people, our members want to flourish throughout the life-course and leave a legacy to be proud of, so an understanding of ‘new aging’ felt critical to our design thinking. We also knew that we wanted The Wylde to be ‘a mission with a business’ not vice versa and that our mission lies in ending ageism via making maturity aspirational again. But how?
Podcast Discussions With Key Thinkers
We set out to talk with some of the key thinkers. Chip Conley (Wisdom At Work / MEA) opened his door that early morning and welcomed us in. He was in a week’s nutrition program and this was the only time he could see us before heading off to the center for the day. It turns out Chip’s done tons of these interviews as had all our guests — thankfully they were all gracious with their lesser experienced host. The same day we flew David Harry Stewart (AGEIST) in for a studio session. Back in New York we met Charlotte Japp (CIRKEL) in Soho then went to activist Ashton Applewhite’s (This Chair Rocks) home in Brooklyn. London Business School was next with Professor Andrew Scott (The 100-Year Life), followed by Stephen Johnston (Aging 2.0). Back in New York, we met up with Dr. Ruth Finkelstein (Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging) and we learned about how to die well with Cynthia Roy (Regional Hospice).
Living in a Better, More Authentic Way
We dove into the history of aging in society, the rise of ageism, the changing role of work, the genders, flow, design, midlife transitions, relationships, inner life growth, impact, end of life, legacy, and more. We realized that lifestyle goals today are changing. People are interested in expanding the potential of their lives, increasing their agency and impact through connection, career, engagement and a focus on health. It’s about living in a better, more authentic way with a greater sense of self and society. While ageism is still pervasive, for some numerical age is becoming less of a marker and life experience is increasingly being seen as an asset to be respected and shared.
We asked the experts: What’s one question we can all ask ourselves to get on the right path? They came back with: What percentage of your adult life is still ahead of you and what is it that you always dreamed you wanted to do that you can start preparing for now? “Who did you help today? How are you useful today? How can you make sure to always have friends of all ages? If you are not 80, what would your 80-year-old self tell you to do in any situation? If you took your last breath today, would what you are leaving behind be something you are proud of, that your children or loved ones would be proud of?
Push Back, Stay Wylde
It became clear that The Wylde needs to be about helping our members to take more chances (flourish) and help more people (legacy). But what about wider ageism? In Ashton Applewhite’s informative, no-BS episode she states that the idea that age tells you anything about what someone is interested in or what they are capable of, unless we’re talking extreme athletics, is really a ridiculous reason to be segregated — so push back against that in your own life. Push back against the narrative. Be less afraid. Pushing back at whatever scale and pace is right for you, feels good, and helps pave the way for others. In other words, Stay Wylde.
To hear this first series of ‘Walk On The Wylde Side’ conversations please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, or listen here. You can sign up for more info here: WyldePeople.com. We’d like to thank our guests so far and we’d love to hear your suggestions for future guests. email@example.com