Author, entrepreneur, musician, teacher, farmer, geriatrician Bill Thomas is one of the most creative thinkers in medicine today. Best known for his health care system innovations, he now brings his radical approach — and conversation — to growth and aging with the Age of Disruption Tour. We had the opportunity to interview Dr. Thomas about his upcoming Master Level Discussion on Disrupt Aging and his rock ’n’ roll life on the road, where he’s spreading the word of a new and highly disruptive understanding of aging.
Can you tell us about your master class? What are the teachings about?
Every American needs to know about the true nature of aging. The amount of energy and resources invested in what we know about children compared to what we know about adulthood and elderhood is zero — zero understanding and full of denial.
We want to raise the level of aging, literacy, financial liberty. We have researched thoroughly. And our research is strikingly different from what the culture tells you.
Is the Disrupt Aging tribe growing as much and as swiftly as you would like it to?
It is happening fast enough. Boomers transform every life phase — in the past, the middle and now. Every day he wakes up, he is headed toward an exploration of age. The demographic wing is at our back!
Talk to us about the importance of an intergenerational approach and what you have created with The Green House Project.
In our communities, we are intensely intergenerational. The fact that in modern culture, we have to remind ourselves of this principle — when that is the cornerstone which is central to our humanity — shows us how wrong we are living. We have to manufacture it now. This has to be fixed, and it has to be fixed soon.
Tell us about your background. How did you arrive here?
I was an ER physician. Very happy — and I decided to take a side job working for a small nursing home. Then, I fell in love with the people and the job. Within two years, at 32, I changed my life and became a geriatrician. And now, I am a wandering minstrel spreading the word of the Age of Disruption.
What led you to this “minstrel” phase in your life — and to the “storytelling”?
I am glad you called it “storytelling.” We are not giving lectures! We use all elements of theater: sets, props, sound effects — all to create a narrative — a place of reflection and happiness. It involves music, neuroscience, history, biography, film, animation, with one single narrative arc. It’s nonfiction theater — the most powerful.
We want to turn the tables and ask you the key question you ask in your master level class: If you get to change one thing about aging in America, what is it?
I’d buy a magic wand. If people could feel comfortable being their own age — all the world would change.