Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 9/18/2023
Well, there has been a lot of talk about “age” recently, right? (And I wrote the book, Threescore and More which discusses the need to preserve and apply the wisdom and maturity of people whom we just might need the most in the years ahead.)
Nancy Pelosi, at 83, has decided to run for another two-year term in Congress. She seems at the top of her game to me (I’m making no political comments here, don’t try to read between the lines). It’s also a fact that should President Biden be reelected and he fail, for any reason, to complete his term, and that if Ms. Pelosi’s party takes the House and she is again Speaker, she would be second in line for the presidency and a leading candidate to be nominated as vice president. (From slurred speech, vague responses to questions, and complete fabrications about his past, I don’t think President Biden at 80 is on top of his game and the thought of him at 85 finishing a second term is unappealing to me. Senator Diane Feinstein was functionally incoherent for quite some time before her retirement was announced. I’m not saying that aging can’t have deleterious effects.)
The forced retirement of commercial airline pilots at 65 is rather absurd. We desperately need pilots (recently rules were changed at some airlines so that a college degree is not required, which doesn’t bother me, since I want a professional who can fly supremely well and not one I can discuss Nietzsche with). Who is better to fly than physically and mentally fit pilots who have “seen it all” and handled all kinds of challenges in the air?
To offer only jobs as “greeters” in Home Depot to people above a certain age is as insulting as it is ineffective. People don’t automatically and rapidly deteriorate as they age, although they often cede power because of the biases and normative pressures of society. Since our society’s morbidity now exceeds our fertility, and there is no sign of that changing in a dual-income, expensive world, we have to use intelligent immigration, intelligent application of AI, and intelligent embrace of talent of all ages if we are to stay competitive and safe.
I won’t bore you with continuing accomplishments of Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Jane Fonda, Pope Francis, Barbra Streisand, Morgan Freeman, Dustin Hoffman, Carole King, Harrison Ford, Neil Diamond, Alan Alda, Nancy Pelosi, Tenzin Gyatso, et. al. (All over 80.)
Elderly people grow as many new brain cells as teenagers, according to a study (The Independent) which counters previous theories that neurons stop developing after adolescence.
I will tell you this: “Aging” is an expected and unavoidable natural law that governs all of us. “Age” is a number used to denote how many years one has lived. Neither is an indication of talent, ability, or contribution.
Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. —Betty Friedan
Age is just a number. Life and aging are the greatest gifts that we could possibly ever have. —Cicely Tyson
And I’m a really happy person, I enjoy life. I think you see that on people. I think there’s nothing more aging than misery. —Michelle Pfeiffer
I’m “old”? That’s your best shot?! Well, you’ve come unarmed to a battle of wits. —Alan Weiss