“What position do you play on the soccer team?”
“Are you a dancer?”
“You have such strong legs, have you always been an athlete?”
NO! NO! NO!
Listen, I have strong legs.
Growing up strangers would ask me what position I played on the soccer team because my calves looked so strong. “Are you a dancer?” People would ask me if I’ve always been an athlete, a dancer, a runner. I hated it. My legs drew too much attention in my early teens. I became really self-conscious about my them. Ridiculously self-conscious because in my mind I did not see strong legs.
You know what I saw? I saw cankles -ugly stumpy cankles.
I stopped wearing shorts.
I stopped wearing skirts.
I stopped wearing dresses.
From 13-23 I hid my legs. Friends reassured me that I was being unrealistic. But I hide them.
I remember having to wear a dress for a family wedding and hiding behind other people in the photos. I remember thinking my legs were hideous. I shied away from any event that require showing me legs.
It wasn’t until I was in my early 20s, getting an annual check up when the doctor asked me if I wanted to have children. Then she said, “you’ve got strong legs for childbearing. You’ve got to be strong to bear children.”
That stopped me right there and then in my tracks. For as long as I could remember I’ve wanted to be a mom. What the doctor said instantly shifted “cankles”’to “childbearing.”
Instead of hiding my legs, I wanted to show them off! Hearing the doctor say that confirmed a deep desire in my heart that I was going to have children.
From that day on, I stopped covering up and haven’t looked down since. I stopped being ashamed and started embracing my future self.
Many of my clients are ashamed of their tech skills.
They tell me, “I can’t get this stuff. My son says I’m a lost cause.”
They tell me, “My husband used to do all the computer work for us. I think I’m too old to learn it.”
They tell me, “I used to be good at this, but now I can’t remember what to do. I’m such a digital dummy.”
I put the brakes on those limiting beliefs, pronto! I say, “Joan, Dick, Pat, Norm! You hold it right there. “
I refuse to let them devalue the unique skills
and wisdom they bring to our sessions.
I refuse to let our cancel culture of ageism cast aside what I consider the greatest generation.
Instead I focus on their strengths, I build them up, I KISS – keep it simple, senior. I never say the other “S” word.
No. No. No.
Listen, when older adults learn the basics about how to use their tech, their way, they’re empowered, they’re engaged and they’re eager to learn more.
And there’s no shame about it.