“Do you mind if I ask your age?”
It’s a question that reveals one of the most misunderstood aspects of our self-presentation to others: the arbitrary number that reveals when we arrived on the planet. Some embrace it with enthusiasm, others with wisdom and introspection, but an alarming majority of us often assign shame, self-doubt and dread about chronological age.
Growing older is universally shared. Being authentic and emotionally unburdened about the number that represents our age, while embracing in full measure the opportunities we have before us, is liberating and can affect real change for ourselves and the communities in which we live.
How different might things be if we agree to make a radical shift in the way we describe people? What if instead of labels that reflect how long we’ve been around—older adult, senior, elder—we choose to lead with language that captures what we’re doing now and what we want to do in the future—volunteer, artist, enthusiast, activist, friend and mentor ? This is what I love about Oasis and the powerful work we do nationwide to celebrate and encourage adults who are learning, growing and changing the narrative about getting older.
With our 2018 Annual Report, we had the opportunity to highlight some of the innovative work that is changing the face of aging in nine communities that are home to Oasis centers. This is where our mission is most visible and meaningful. Here are just a few stories that demonstrate the scope and impact that Oasis has across the country: