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7 Toxic Thoughts To Get Rid Of As You Get Older and What To Think Instead

It’s easy to get swallowed into the ageist vacuum where we find ourselves without a voice. But it’s not an excuse to say that nobody wants to hear from you, especially if you aren’t saying anything.

What to do instead?

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Tell stories. Give toasts. Write blogs. The most important thing is to say things that really matter to you. To figure out what matters to you, you have to listen to yourself. You have to discover what makes you sit up and pay attention.

Once you know what grabs your interest, learn more about it. And then, when you tell others what you find fascinating, animate your voice, put energy in your body, and command presence.

It’s so comfortable to succumb to a kind of small talk that lacks salience and spark. “Some weather we are having” isn’t enough to command attention.

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You’ve probably spent so many years listening to others that you forgot how to make your own voice known and heard. But it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s invigorating. Try things out.

Get the attention at the dinner table by telling a gripping, informative and playful story.

Funny Thing As you get older


4. Kids today…

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It’s a bad thought.

Don’t think it. Never say it. It’s tiresome. It’s… old.

It was said about you. It was said about your mother, and it was said about her mother.

Here’s the truth: Kids today are fascinating. They always have been. Why? Because they are different than you were. They face different issues, new inventions, and live in diverse times. By judging them, you lose your chance to connect in meaningful ways. By dissing them, you miss the opportunity to inspire yourself with new learning, fresh energy, and unusual ways to be.

What to do instead?

Get curious about the younger generations as you get older. Make friends with them. Ask questions of them. Read their books. Listen to their music. Dance their dances. Listen to their ideas, politics, and attitudes with an open mind.

The best way to age is not to try to stay young, but to be influenced by the young.


5. The past matters more than the future.

It’s a bad thought.

Stop thinking of past as you get older

If this is the case, then why invest in our future?

If the future doesn’t matter, then we might as well be complacent, stay on the couch, drink more, isolate from the world, and stop learning. This thought, “the past matters more than my future,” keeps us stuck. And it makes us believe that our later years are just something to get through.

If the future doesn’t really matter, then why do anything meaningful now.

What to do instead?

Your future, whether you are 49, 59 or 99, matters. It matters a lot. Your future is important because you are here now, and as long as you are here now, you can make what’s next count.

Who do you want to be? Who is your future self? Write about her. Design her. Decide that up until your last breath, your future matters, because it informs what you do, and who you are, now.

Related article – 5 Reasons Why Letting Go Of A Past Love Will Make You Truly Happy


6. I don’t have much to offer.

It’s a bad thought.

This thought makes me mad. Sure, we can blame ageism for taking away our relevance and potency in a youth-centric culture. But do we have to decide that we don’t have anything to offer? Because this thought might make you give up trying as you get older.

Contributing to others, making a difference, leaving a legacy are the qualities of generativity. Generativity, coined by psychologist Erik Erikson, is the concern and care for the next generations. Generativity is considered a developmental milestone in the aging process.

According to Erikson, without generativity, we stagnate. And who wants that?

What to do instead?

Generate. Find some way and someone to contribute to. Make an offer. And then make another offer. Decide how to contribute and who to contribute to.

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Cecilia Dintino PsyD
Cecilia Dintino is a psychologist in private practice in New York City. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and on faculty with New York University’s Program in Drama Therapy. She is co-founder of Twisting the Plot and Twisting the Plot Podcast with the mission to help women over 50 imagine and create new futures.
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