There’s a video making the rounds, an audition from “Britain’s Got Talent.” The couple are ballroom dancers and it’s pretty amazing. Why? The seventy-nine year old woman and her lanky, young partner do an unexpectedly impressive number. By the end, everyone in the theater erupts into thunderous applause as they jump to their feet, unable to contain their enthusiasm for what they have just seen. Yes, these two are a truly amazing dance team.
The woman’s performance was absolutely the last thing the judges and audience saw coming. No, sadly, when this couple first came onto the stage disbelief, giggles, and negative judgments emanated from just about everyone in the room. After-all, she was a very old lady.
I fully realize that reality shows are all about creating drama, tension, discord, laughable moments – which is exactly why I don’t watch them. I also know reality shows are edited to portray a story determined by the director and producers. (So, why do they call them reality shows?)
But the initial reception this woman received was an embarrassingly pathetic display of judgement. It was a sad reflection of cultural views regarding those of us in our later years. When did it become okay to laugh at people simply because they were older? The woman was enjoying herself. Her only goal was to entertain. But there she was, initially ridiculed for all the world to see.
Am I being defensive? Probably. But I happen to like and respect people who dare to follow their dreams. And yes, it’s also true, I’m old. It’s difficult to recognize that a percentage of the population has lost all interest in what I may have to offer.
Perhaps, more than anything, I’m frustrated. I just happen to think that older people still have much to contribute. This woman was a remarkable role model. She displayed admirable gumption, beautiful talent, and great dedication. Too bad no one entertained any of these possibilities until she proved all of them wrong.
Let’s give this some thought, shall we? What can we do to change commonly help perceptions about older people? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net/“