As I begin my tenure as CEO of AARP, I challenge all of us to reimagine what it means to get older. Let's disrupt aging. Let's upend our thinking around what it means to get older.
It's really not about aging. It's about living.
To disrupt aging, we need to own our age. We need to get to the point where we're no longer defined by the old expectations of what we should or should not do at a certain age.
We don't want to be defined by our age any more than we want to be defined by race or sex or income — and frankly, I'm a little tired of other people defining me that way. I want people to define me by who I am, not how old I am.
Disruptive aging begins with each of us embracing our own aging — feeling good about where we are in life.
We've all seen those ads on TV and in magazines — "50 is the new 30" or "60 is the new 40." That may sound like a nice sentiment, but as someone who was born in 1958 — the year Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus founded AARP — I don't agree.
For one, we face different challenges and have different goals than people in their 30s and 40s. We're motivated by different things. We see the world through a lens shaped by the ups and downs of life and the wisdom gained from those experiences.
I don't want to be 30 again. I may want to look and feel 30, but I'm very comfortable with my age. I am a more purposeful person because of the experiences and wisdom those years have brought me. I'll bet that most of you would say the same thing. In fact, we're looking forward to the years ahead, not looking back on days gone by.
No, 50 is not the new 30. I like to think that 50 is the new 50 — and I like what it looks like. We're redefining what it means to be our age.