I think I was about 27 when I walked into a conference room and there was a woman at the table with gray hair and droopy eyes ... I thought to myself, who is this person in a room filled with young technology people like myself? I had been in this business a “long” time and I had never seen anyone older than 30!
I never introduced myself to her and I have no idea why ... I guess I could not imagine being so old & still working and even worse still working in technology, the great frontier of youth!!!!
Did I think I would never be that old or did I think I would be retired and in a rocking chair? I have no idea but I will tell you that in the 40 years that have passed since I saw this woman I named Tillie, she has always been with me .... Walking into a new setting like a meeting or a classroom of MBA’s or to give a talk…. I would wonder do they know how old I am?
So it seems Tillie has represented my own fear of growing older and then somehow feeling disvalued or not respected or even worse, invisible.
It’s time to change that perception because I do not think I am alone, as I still love the thrill of the chase of a new venture, love the passion I feel for a project and the fire in my belly for what might be accomplished in the day.
I am trying to come to grips with being a member of the invisible or the oldest one in the room. I still have thoughts of why would they want me or why would they want to be friends with me since they are X years younger but I also know I have lots to offer the world & I am not ready to hang up my boots.
If I had the opportunity to meet Tillie, I am not sure of what I might say to her now, but I do know that she did not deserve my disrespect and perhaps that disrespect morphed into my fear of aging, that has haunted me since I saw her across that conference room table
All these thoughts rolling around in my head while I still love to run hard and fast, with the same energy & focus I have always had ….so what is different, am I just like Tillie?