Monthly Archives: April 2022

Book Review – This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

From my Goodreads Review

Ashton Applewhite’s eye-opening Manifesto is well worth reading; it is like looking in the mirror and being met with an expanded view of oneself. I thought my approach to life was ageism-neutral in that I am aging, thrilled to be here so no complaints about getting older, and yet, this book proved otherwise.

As with all of the “isms,” we are socialized at birth with ways of perceiving others, be they the same as us or different. So much of that socialization depends on the combination of who raises us and the culture in which we live. We can think we are neutral yet regularly and inadvertently practice multiple micro-slights and aggressions. This is why it is important to have conversations, read books, and be openminded to learning how unintentional words and actions can cause harm.

Stated towards the end of the book, It’s harder to unlearn than to learn, especially when it comes to values. The critical starting point is to acknowledge our own prejudices. This is where the book shows its value, in pointing out the many varied ways that we and others practice ageism. I looked in the mirror and was surprised what looked back at me.

While this was not a suggestion in the book, here is an experiment to try. For one week every time you make a comment about someone that causes you to invoke or allude to their age, pause and rephrase the comment without the age reference. The reference does not have to be a specific number, it could merely include words signifying older OR younger and accompanying adjectives. How does that change your thought? How does it change your opinion? How does it change what you mean to convey? Does the age qualifier make a difference? Why?

Utilize this experiment even when thinking or speaking about yourself. How does that change your self-perspective?

[UPDATED April 22, 2022 – Just found some quotes from this book that I had written down. Adding them here for ease of access in case I want to refer to them in the future.]

Self-efficacy is “belief in your ability to handle what life has to offer.”

A “normal aging brain enables greater emotional maturity, adaptability to change, and levels of well-being.”

“Aging means living, just a living means aging.”

Cognitive Reserve is built by challenging the brain with novel, complex problems (that, through work, can be solved); developing and maintaining social networks; and through exercising. Partner social dancing, board games, reading and playing a musical instrument have all been found to be activities that help build cognitive reserve.