- Maggie Wallem Rowe
Pride and Prejudice: The Hidden Bias We Hold Against Ourselves
Many of you who visit here weekly for a new view from the ridge are in my season of life.
I like to call us WOCA’s: Women Of a Certain Age. I’ve never been exactly sure what qualifies one as a WOCA. I can only tell you I’ve always aspired to become an older woman. It beats, as they say, the alternative.
Whether you’re a seasoned sister in your second half or even your third trimester of life, it’s an enormous privilege to reach maturity. I haven’t yet figured out how to age gracefully, but gratefully? Oh yes!
Grateful to have lived long enough to see my children become loving, responsible adults. Grateful to see them become parents themselves. Grateful to have enough years and careers under my expanding waistline to be useful to a few people.
And I know you’re grateful too.
But tell me this: As you’ve grown older, have you ever described yourself by your diminished health and stamina? Have you compared your weaknesses to others’ strengths? Have you identified yourself by what you’ve done in the past and not what you’re capable of in the future?
Guilty on all counts.
If you can relate to this, it’s possible you and I have actually fallen prey to the most pervasive form of discrimination – ageism. We might even be complicit in it by denying or decrying or defying our hard-won years rather than embracing them as a season of growth.
In her insightful book Women Rowing North, author and psychologist Mary Pipher comments, “Ultimately, ageism is a prejudice against one’s own future self.”
Age discrimination in the workplace aside, what constitutes “prejudice against one’s future self?”
We prejudice self against self by defining ourselves according to what we lack in our older years, not what we have.
I didn’t do that for years: I did it for decades. If you have a few minutes, may I share a story with you?
That’s it, friends. The intentional life happens when we learn to make careful choices about the future, even as we’ve grown in maturity from the lessons learned in the past.
We step back, we take stock, and we gain the long-range view of what we can do with not what we’ve lost, not just what’s left, but with all there is yet to gain in the years ahead.
It just might be your story we’re telling one day!
If you'd like to read more about flourishing in the various seasons of life, check out Maggie's new book This Life We Share: 52 Reflections on Journeying Well with God and Others, a 2021 finalist for the ECPA Christian Book Award.
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