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Old Dog … New Tricks!

Old Dog Brainstorming

I’m pretty sick and tired of being referred to as a Boomer, senior citizen, or a person of age, and I sure as hell do not want to be referred to as “over the hill”. I haven’t a clue what hill you’re referring to, but I’m betting I can beat you to the top of it.

I get that I’m all those things, but I don’t appreciate being boxed into anyone’s mindset other than my own. I concede that I have entered my 6th decade and probably look ancient to the ticket taker at our local theater. I’ve come to terms with it.

What I haven’t come to terms with, however, are people who assume that because I’m over 60, I’m not up on the current fads, social media trends, and the newest and brightest computer software and smart phones. Even worse, that’s its all way over my head. Bite me!

I teach social media to people of all ages, along with business trends, blogging, marketing and writing. I have the most current smart phone, tablet and laptop and know how to wield them. Want to know what it’s like being a mature person in a young woman’s game? It’s awesome!

Many have said that my age puts me at a disadvantage in the job marketplace. If that’s true, I have yet to see it.

It’s a gift when people underestimate you. It makes meeting expectations a bit easier. More importantly, when I present a rocking seminar or astonish them with my ability to guide their business aspirations upward, they are left with a new found understanding and clarity: age is a number that should be respected for its content not its numerical value.

Granted, years ago when I was trying to learn the computer, I tapped the closest genius in my proximity, my 12 year old daughter. I remember her frustration as I muddled my way through dial up internet connectivity, slow uploading and something called “My Space”. She bemoaned my slowness and lost patience with me from time to time. I reminded her that she had her first computer when she was 4 years old. I had mine when I was 35. The learning curve was brutal.

But, I caught up. Fast. Today, I lecture, teach, consult and share what I know to thousands of people a year. I have over 6,000 Twitter followers, 5,000 Facebook followers, over 1,000 Linkedin connections and a rapidly growing Google+ base. All that and five bucks will buy me a cup of coffee at my local java haunt.

The point is, it’s not the numbers that matter. It’s the people. The relationships, friendships and business acquaintances who I was able to help, and who have helped me, along the way.

THAT, my friends, is knowledge that comes from age.

I’ve learned from the many old dogs I’ve had the privilege of growing older with, how to stay in the now. It’s not hard to notice how they never stop being amazed, engaged and excited about their world. Not a day goes by that they don’t relish in the wonder of life, their next meal, a walk, a new squeaky toy, or a new butt to sniff. I’ve always respected that. Well, except the butt sniffing part.

The inability to adapt, learn, grow, play, and move upward doesn’t come from age. It comes from a lack of need to know, or the lack of interest to learn.

I’ve met and done business with 85 year olds that could run rings around me. I’ve also done business with 35 year olds that didn’t have the common sense to blow their nose when it was running.

Experience speaks loudly to those of us who have lived, won, lost, recovered and are still standing. I’m happy to be counted among them.

If you’re looking to place a label on me, I’d prefer you define me by my character, ability, actions and intention. Age has pity little to do with any of those things. Yet, it’s those things that matter.

I’m much more than a senior, a boomer, or a woman of age. While I qualify for all of them, none of these adjectives define me. A box, any box, is a terrible thing to live in.

If you really need to box me into a label … just call me an old broad who can.

That’s good enough for this old dog!

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Joan Cooper - I am always amazed at how you can expand on what is to me just a one sentence comment.

Ancient civilizations revered their elderly. Of course they were not bothered by TV, constant media, stay young forever products, good looks (I think wrinkles were what Joan Rivers calls ‘Life Stripes’). True that there really is no substitute for experience. I congratulate you on making the ‘machine’ work for you. I just do not have that knack. I am terrified of Facebook etc. Am I lost in the world I live in?

Joan Cooper

Tammy - Good morning Joan! Yeah, my grandfather would always tell me that I have the gift of gab. I wish we lived in a culture where age was valued. I see it in the Japanese and Italian cultures, but seldom in ours. Sad. But it’s okay. Aging is hard enough without having to deal with all the preconceived nonsense people throw in your wake. I feel like people our age are completely misunderstood and often thought less of. Good grief, enough! WE can hold our own and probably help with your load too! Thanks for the read, Joan. Always lovely to hear from you!

Kitt Crescendo - You know, no one played the stock market and day trading from home with the help of his laptop quite like my grandpa. He did it till he was 94. His learning curve? He was already in his 50’s when stuff like this started coming out.

I used to teach smart phone and tablet classes. The “older set” were always so much more willing to jump in and learn, yet I’d meet folks my own age that would say “I’m too old to learn all of that!”

As the saying goes, “Whether you are or you aren’t, you’re right.”

Helene Cohen Bludman - Good on you, Tammy! You’re showing the new face of midlife and giving us 60+ year-olds some credibility. Rock on!

mel glenn - Dear Tammy.
I know what you mean. Just today someone, (who I didn’t know) called me “Grandpa.” I bristled.
But as always I admire your spunk. You refuse to be categorized.
You learn new things; you speak your mind. I graze with the other dinosaurs. One day I will get a larger brain.

Suerae Stein - It’s true, Tammy, we all get boxed in somehow. When I was younger, I looked very young and I always wanted to look older so people would start taking me more seriously. Because of course, a young woman couldn’t possibly know what she’s doing. So, of course, now I’d like to look younger, since I am older and I don’t want to be boxed in once again. You can’t win for losing, I guess. I’ll never forget the first time I was called ma’am, and I didn’t like that so much. Sadly, that was a long time ago! Great post!

Laurie Hurley - Here, here for the mature professionals who have more than a clue what we are doing and can run circles around the twenty-somethings who think just because they took a class (whoooo) in social media, they know more than us. It’s called life experience, and nothing can replace that. Get over it, young ones. Be patient, soon you will be as sharp an focused as we are!

Tammy - Hi Kitt, Yup, I SO agree! I always preached top my kidlet “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’ll be right”. So much is determined in that space called mindset. Crazy for people to think that because we are 50+ we are behind the curve and oblivious to the newest thing. Poppycock. Yikes, just dated myself there! So happy to have you here! Thanks for that.

Tammy - Thanks, Helene, I’m rocking on right next to YOU! So appreciate the read and the comment!

Tammy - Hi Mel, someone you didn’t know called you Grandpa? Why I never! You are a better man than I, as I would have done more than bristle. Geesh, that just smacks of disrespect and ignorance. I’m sure you are a grandpa of many, a father, a husband, a thinker, doer, writer, hobbyist, the list probably goes on forever. I just abhore the idea of anyone pigeonholing anyone else into one category. Crazy! To me, my friend, you are that ever so delightful gentleman that is well read, a loving father and husband and FABULOUS writer, among many things. One day, I’d like to meet you in person, perhaps when I’m skipping through NYC. You never know, stranger things have happened. Rock on, Sir Mel!

Tammy - Hi Suerae, we are birds of a feather. I, too, will never forget when our local bag boy at Ralphs addressed me as ma’am. I was speechless, furious, confused and stunned. Such a tiny word with such a strong impact. That was many, many years ago, and it was just yesterday. I’m okay these days with being a ma’am. As long as I know that I’m a rocking one! Thanks for the read, Suerae, and the lovely comment!

Tammy - Hi Laurie, I love the “woooo”! Too funny. Yup, there is nothing that can replace life experience and no way to get it but to grow older. Ironic, isn’t it?! Personally, I’m super happy to be where I am. I wouldn’t be 30 again for anything. Well, okay, maybe a few million. We all have our price! Lovely having your here! Thanks for that.

Angel The Alien - I wouldn’t think of a person in their sixties as being too old for any of that stuff at all! Age isn’t what it used to be. Most of the people I know in their sixties are definitely on top of all types of technology and are nowhere near ready to be put out to pasture!

Angel The Alien - Hey I just saw that Mel Glenn commented on your blog! I know him! We go way back (to 1997) but he knows me by a different name.

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