The Big Middle

Ashton Applewhite

Episode Summary

End ageism or the rest is noise

Episode Notes

Longevity is here to stay. There’s no disputing that. Retirement as we concocted it in the 50s is all but dead. It’s the age of the 100-year life and the 60-year career. But old patterns and old thinking die hard.

Ashton Applewhite is a big voice in a growing, global movement to blow up all that furry old thinking. The author, ageism activist and social pioneer joins Susan from her home in Brooklyn.

Hear what when:

“The strange thing about ageism is that that other is our own future, older self.”

‘Ageing well’ is measured by how much you can look and act like a younger version of yourself.”

“We tend to use old and young as placeholders for good things and bad things that can occur at any point in our life cycle. People say I don’t feel old when they really mean I don’t feel sexless or incompetent or invisible…. I felt all those things much more when I was 13 and 14 than I do now at 66.”

“People with a more positive attitude towards ageing, who see it as something other than a decline into uselessness, walk faster, heal quicker.. live an average 7.5 years longer...are less likely to develop dementia even if they have the gene that predisposes them to the disease. The thinking is that a positive attitude helps buffer the stress of living in an ageist world.”

“We now have this unparalleled window of opportunity to craft a response to population ageing, to shape the institutions. We have to make new roles for older people - we are making this up.” (listen to previous guest Prof Andrew Scott, The 100-Year Life)

“This is how the circle of sexism intersects with the circle of ageism...Managers stop promoting younger women to managerial positions in their 30s... We all know that your ovaries can’t work at the same time as your brain is working.”


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Hosted + produced by Susan Flory

Music: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin Koc