Today is my 61st birthday. It feels different from 60, weightier. But really, the whole idea of being anywhere near this age is a bit disorienting. Back in my party/poor-health-oriented 20s, this was not part of the plan — as if there was actually a plan, which there most certainly was not.
At My Most Socially Engaged
If there had been any forethought about what 61 could or should be, I am guessing it would have included long stretches on a porch in a rocking chair, alone, bored, and in bad health. The reality I rather surprisingly find myself in today is none of the above. Not that I have anything against porches and rocking chairs, but the overall picture of being detached and alone is completely the opposite of where I find myself today. I have never been as engaged and socially connected as I am today. This past year has been the most creative and productive of my entire life.
We Have Co-Created AGEIST
I have been so very lucky in that I now have a mission, but it didn’t start like this. It started as a possibility that could be explored. Along with all of you and the wonderfully tireless AGEIST team, we have co-created this organization out of thin air. We felt our way in the dark, moving slowly forward with AGEIST, having fully expected that we may fail.
Looking back, the advantage we had was that we valued curiosity and creativity over avoiding failure. Making something completely new without an existing model is exhilarating. It is also very difficult to explain to people because they want to understand it in the context of something they know. The UBER of XYZ…We found that it takes time for people to get it. Years, in fact. But now we have this amazing thing that allows us to connect with people all over the world.
The Holidays Can Be Difficult
This is also Thanksgiving in the US. It is a time for gathering friends and family to eat and be thankful for where we are and the gifts we have around us. This is not always an easy time for some people. I have heard it referred to as the first of the three difficulties: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. If one is lonely, or just having a tough time, the holidays can provoke some pretty dark feelings. In this moment of reflective gratitude, this is where we can help, and all of you too.
Reach Out to Someone
In the midst of thinking about our holiday plans with our near and dear, let’s all take a moment to understand that there is someone out there to whom we can be helpful. Sure, going to Skid Row and helping serve food feels good, and it connects us with the less fortunate. But maybe the harder, scarier thing to do is to reach out to someone we know is having a hard time or maybe we just suspect could use a bit of human kindness. A phone call, a quick text, or just saying hello to someone you barely know on the street. Sometimes these small gestures are both the scariest for us to do, and also the most impactful to others.
AGEIST is a remarkable platform that connects people around the globe from an astounding array of ages and circumstances. It moves me tremendously when I see the impact we have on people. If you put me on stage and ask me about it, I’ll immediately start to break down and cry. Really, that happens.
Thank You for Being With Us
We as an organization continue every day by slowly feeling our way forward. We are more confident now — some people even consider us the go-to experts. We strive to be helpful toward understanding what, for each of us, is an ongoing exploration of what this age is, and what it can be. How can we become the best versions of ourselves as each of us see that? A huge part of that is about helping those around us. How can we be most helpful? It is complicated, and we don’t claim to have it all figured out.
Thank you all for being with us on this incredible trip and enriching my life beyond anything I could have imagined. And thank you to the powers out there that have given me another trip around the sun.