Happiness can be a grand challenge for all of us, especially in an culture where ageism is very real.
According to Dictionary.com ageism is a noun meaning:
- discrimination against persons of a certain age group.
- a tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment.
I spoke about hope and happiness at the 2015 Rural Futures Conference, and I used Project Have Hope as a reference to illustrate my point. In Uganda, women of all ages are making beautiful pieces of jewelry out of paper. I found the necklace I am wearing in the photo when visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. These fantastic women are putting their entrepreneurial skills to work! Not only are there actions empowering women in the present, they are fostering success for future generations. They are empowering themselves and their families. The women in Uganda are leaders.
Project Have Hope was started by another female leader, Karen Sparacio, who is an entrepreneurial photojournalist. Karen decided to give back by taking action. You can find out more about Karen and her work by visiting photosbykisp.com.
Do I think agesim is real? Yes. Do I think we can do something about it? Absolutely! Did I pause before posting the page out of the conference proceedings? Yes. Why? Because it is real, and I can visibly see that I am getting older. It’s not an easy thing, especially in a culture that values youth and devalues age. But, I also know that I need to stay positive, practice gratitude and keep moving! I have learned a lot through the years, including the fact that it takes a village to do so many things, ranging from raising children to growing businesses and communities. At the Rural Futures Institute, we are committed to changing the rural conversation to one of challenge to one of opportunity. We also want to connect people and communities to opportunities! This conversation must include women of all ages, including those that are older than 40.
Happiness ignites innovation. Check out the Project Have Hope video below and then think about the challenges you typically hear about aging. Look the extraordinary attitudes the women in the Acholi Quarter of Uganda have and how much action they are taking because they have hope.
We just celebrated the 4th of July in the United States, which serves as a reminder that we are free to choose our attitudes and actions. You are free to decide how you live your life at any age and any stage. So, let me know. What inspired, hopeful actions are you taking?
Go Wild with Hope, Happiness and Inspired Action!