On Age and Usefulness…


Beyond Stereotypes

Social demographic studies show – for all of the improvements and advances achieved over time and still evolving within “developed economies” – that society’s focus (value perception, investment, etc.) continues to be on what generally is perceived to be the most active and productive segments of populations.

A graphic representation of this would be similar to a classic bell-curve where; the Y axis=productivity and the X axis=age demographics map such “active and productive” focus at the upper mid-third of the chart.

In short, both EARLY developmental and LATE experiential rich societal stages receive peripheral attention and such, mostly to help “feed or compensate” for variations within the hi-productivity stages… We’re under-estimating /preparing our youth for global competitive challenges, under-supporting /over-stressing those within the hi-productivity cycle, and under-valuing the contribution of those on the downward slope.

Plainly, the “developed world” has done a mediocre job at preparing, supporting and valuing its population’s contribution holistically… However, this isn’t surprising in-light of the economic and cultural complexities and pressures at-play within such “developed world” and the general morose (the belief that things are the way they are and will always remain so) of those most affected by such imbalance. Nevertheless, this focus isn’t efficient or sustainable as the “effective distance” between economic needs /demands (productivity) and established population usefulness-cycles continues to diametrically polarize and grow.

As I see it, it is myopic to not fully support and tap into the early innovative / late experiential rich potential that is fueled by the power of the human spirit and growing from population’s exposure to wider educational accessibility, ubiquitous information technology and life-sciences efforts that effectively are driving a rise in “quality longevity”…

Image via Wikipedia

Blue=Developed - Tan=Emerging - Red=Underdeveloped

Thankfully, this is beginning to happen and several efforts are now underway within developed economies currently experiencing “insufficient new talent-pools & rising productivity pressures”, aiming to improve such educational inefficiencies and counter-productive displacement (retirement) policies, which in-time should ease the slope (as a more gradual curve) into and from the hi-productivity segment of population life-cycles, but these efforts; which carry yet not fully understood /vetted financial consequences and benefits, cannot succeed without the desire, awareness and the inclusion of productive “voices” from those of us within either end of the current productivity scale to the discussion.

As intelligent humans, we must be less accepting of default stereotyping and instead; truly WANT, DESIRE and DRIVE CHANGE… first within ourselves, then within society as in; developing and assuring wide access to comprehensive/innovative educational curriculums and meaningful productivity options whilst committing the time and ourselves to really engage whilst continually learning and contributing. As well as, shed our all too common malaise… prejudices and “been there done that” experiential staidness that subconsciously keep us from remaining actively engaged, curious and collaborative… looping back often to guide, mentor and facilitate those in the earlier two productive stages even if it isn’t mainstream or “cool” to do so.

To be successful and lasting, Big, Bold Shifts; insofar as “age”, “productivity” and “usefulness” stereotyping must begin first within each of us thus, exemplifying and leading the way to a more efficient, valuable and balanced alternative.

This I believe…

Rites of Passage…


There once was a rabbit named Oreo and a guinea pig named Qupid…

They were a physical part of this extended family until recently; when both passed-on quite unexpectedly and within a few days of each other.

Their life and passing a paradox; between the love and companionship exchanged daily with the girls and their painful loss, bringing with it a yet unrecognized release from the endless reminders about duties and responsibilities of caring for their pets now no longer necessary.

These were “rescue” animals… they were unique, loved well and will be missed by the girls; especially during those times when there’s a need for deep secrets to be shared, when nothing but a private intimate cuddle with them can soothe the heart, when the night is too quiet and the mind too restless to be useful.

I’m not a “pet person” but, I willed the acceptance of these animals’ usefulness because of the creative cases the girls persistently made, which led me to think this may be one way a young heart could learn about dualities; fun(?) and responsibility, love and apathy, happiness and sorrow, life and death…. a way for them to experience the rites-of-passage that many “adults” have yet to fully synthesize.

The experience; witnessing my daughter’s traverse joy, aggravation, love and the pain of departure in a full un-disguised manner as kids do; to emerge from it with their aching hearts intact, still caring and strengthened by the process, is well worth the duress of having too many breathing “things” under one roof.

As a steadfast proponent of “natural habitats for animals, houses for people”, I now think that there is a time and a place for “house pets”; when animals become living bridges that relate how caring knows neither bounds nor limitations, how we – all species – seek to connect in a positive way and need this as the air we breathe.

There once was a rabbit named Oreo and a guinea pig named Qupid… their lives mattered and made a difference.

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