Ageism

Grandma Iva, Circa 1938

Grandma Iva, Circa 1938, Detroit

Dear Max,

Age is just a number. One thing that I am most passionate about is ageism. Every day people are denied what they want simply because of their age. It has nothing to do with their ability or knowledge, and everything to do with how young or old they are.

You’re never too old.

At 86 my Grandma Iva was racing my band mates in her GT. At 89 she told me she hated old people – true story – saying that they forgot what living was about. She was spunky. She made best friends with people half her age in her late 80s. Her last 5 days on earth, she ate nothing but strawberry shortcake and Pepsi. No matter what stage she was at in life, she had to drive to do everything se wanted. She didn’t let stereotypes stand in her way.

By about 40 my dad had to change industries according to doctors orders in a time when people worked in the same job for 30 plus years. He succeeded transitioning from music and cars to being an insurance claims supervisor. At 41 he started over and married my mom. At 42, they had me [my mom is 13 years younger than my dad].

On the flip side – you’re never too young.

While living in Detroit my dad was sent to pick up things like bread at the store at the age of 5. He went to the movies by himself and watched double features by 6. By 8 he worked on a Christmas tree lot helping load cars. By 9 he took two sets of Detroit street cars to clarinet lessons. When I was 4 years old I was able to go to the corner store by myself and pick up my favorite thing to eat – red Swedish fish. At 10 I started mowing lawns to make my own money and worked my way up to 7 properties. At 14 I started my own band with a few buddies and by 15 we were closing bars on school nights. At 24 I married the love of my life, bought a house and finished my masters degree.

You are never too young or too old to do anything. Don’t let yourself ever think any different – no matter what they say.

Love,
Daddy

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