The ‘Senior’ label is getting old.

We humans love our labels and our groupings.

We have those who fit the label ‘Senior’. We have, young adults, millenials, GenXers – GenYers – GenAnthingGoes.

That last one is a label of my own making.

It feels right for this age I find myself embodying with mind, heart, body and soul – I’m ok with who I am and how I am because I choose to love who I am and how I am becoming completely.

And in that statement, recognize that no matter my age, I am always becoming – more of who I am, less of who I don’t want to be, all of me – beauty and the beast, yin and yang, darkness and light, imperfectly perfect in all my human imperfections – with or without a label.

Year ago, when I was preparing for my first talk at a major conference about how I learned to live with joy and love after an abusive relationship, the organizers, after reading my talk outline said, “Okay. You fit into the “Victim Stories” category.”

No I don’t, I quickly replied. I am not a victim. I am a victor.

That distinction was extremely important to me. The label ‘victim’ is an emotionally charged one that says to me, I am weak. I am beaten. I am the underdog. I DO NOT want to be a victim. I AM NOT a victim. (and yes, I am sure there is a whole lot of unconscious bias going on in my head around that word!)

To be a victor is, for me, empowering. I can handle carrying that label. It feels expansive. Empowered. Strong.

Just as being labelled a baby-boomer feels open-ended. It says, I am of the generation who marched for women’s rights and burned bras. Who stood up to authority to ensure, ‘anything goes’ became a reality for gays and lesbians and so much more. It is full of limitless possibilities and as long as my ‘anything goes’ creates better in the world, is fair, kind and does no harm, then my anything goes is powerful!

The label ‘senior’ on the other hand… that is an emotionally charged one for me too. I don’t think I was ever a ‘junior’ human so why am I suddenly a ‘senior’ one?

It’s a challenging realization for me – perhaps my unconscious biases are preventing me from living into the possibilities of ‘seniordom’ whatever those possibilities are.

Or, perhaps, my resistance to living into the label ‘senior’ is actually my rebellion against doing ‘the safe thing/right thing/expected thing’.

I’m not sure.

What I am sure about is, I do not want to live up to nor down to an arbitrarily applied label of ‘their’ construction (whoever ‘they’ are.)

I don’t want to live ‘the label’. I want to live my life.

I want to live free to be, to express, to become all of me – consciously aware that my becoming is an evolutionary process full of possibilities.

Labels are handy for prescription drugs and supermarket shelves.

For we humans… labels can act as limitations to how deep, wide, wild and free we live our lives. And, until we confront the unconscious or conscious labels we carry, collectively or singularly, we will not see beyond the limts of that label all the beauty, mystery, magic and wonder life has to offer.

So here’s to the GenAnythingGoes – no matter your age!

Episode 18

10 thoughts on “The ‘Senior’ label is getting old.

  1. I don’t like labels as I have been called a criminal, homeless, senior and blunt. None fit me as the people I am now. I am a passionate person who believes that every person be treated with dignity and respect. This includes me. I give my best at what ever I do and I’m very proud of the work I do. My friends respect me for who I am and encourage me to continue to grow. That’s my thoughts

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Somewhere along the line we decide which labels suit us. We can accept labels we agree with, and make our own labels. We can live without labels. We can talk about what we do, without making it who we are.
    But some people work very hard to have certain labels. It’s good to think before we label.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Labels are for those who know no better.
    Labels may be useful such as Campbell’s Tomato Soup.
    Labels may help determine medical conditions such as chronic bronchitis.
    Labels may influence one’s perception of anything.
    Labels may be hurtful … (no end of examples on this one)

    I may be a senior citizen by definition of my age only.
    I am NOT ready to be marginalized by “that” label.

    I am a writer, a quilter, a calligrapher, a photographer.
    I am a wife, a friend, a relative, a confidante, a mentor.
    These are the qualities and traits that I am proud to acknowledge.
    Some may say these are “labels”.
    Whatever!

    Namaste 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Years ago, a dear friend from the adult homeless shelter where I used to work wrote a piece for a play that he was performing in. The play was a deconstruction of another play and in it, the actors, all with lived experience of homelessness, wrote segments that reflected their lives.

      For his piece in the play, my friend Max wrote, “I am a father, a brother, a son, an uncle, a friend. I am a carpenter, a musician, a writer, an artist. I laugh. I cry. I bleed. I feel pain. I feel joy. Which of these is diminished because I am homeless?”

      Like yours, his words resonated deeply.

      Thank you. ❤

      Like

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