Take that, ageists: reclaiming life at 65 in the Big Apple

Opinion: The age of the US presidential candidates is a hot topic, sparking debate on age limits for contenders; yet, if a 65-year-old can thrive in a bustling city, it's proof age is just a number, not a barrier to contributing members of society

Judy Mozes|
Americans here talk a lot about Biden’s 81 years on this planet. They ask in private conversations, on social media, and, in fact, in any media. How come there is no younger candidate in the whole United States of America to lead the country? Most forget about his achievements, abilities, experience, and talent. And this is not only Biden (or Trump, for that matter). Anyone older than 55 is considered to be a has-been, on death’s bed.
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(L) Former Vice President Joe Biden and Incumbent President Donald Trump
(L) Former Vice President Joe Biden and Incumbent President Donald Trump
Too old to run?
(Photo: AP)
Apparently, young people (broadly considered to be under xxx) can’t or don’t want to imagine themselves several years from now. Employers think youth is THE thing; retirees at 65 are considered good for nothing. Well, not really nothing; they are great for babysitting, and it is best if they are available 24/7/365 to take care of their grandkids (but not to interfere in their education, of course; babysit, drive, feed, console, and all these things grandparents are expected to do – do another round of child-rearing).
I am 65. I love to dance, wear mini-skirts and shorts, laugh, go to the gym, lift weights, and, did I mention, dance? Worse yet, I LOVE posting these reels on social media. I do get many encouraging reactions. But I get a significant amount of venom in the form of sayings such as You are making a joke of yourself; You are a shame to your kids; Go to a nursing home; Take care of your grandkids instead of dancing (with pleasure, but I don’t have grandkids yet, and anyway, it will not be instead; it will be in addition to dancing).
The world belongs to everyone, not only the young

To many peoples’ dismays, at the grand age of 65, I decided I wanted to make a change, in fact, a significant change in my life. I took myself far away from my family, friends, work, hobbies, connections, privileges—whatever was my comfort zone—and moved to NYC, a foreign place. Here, I am (nearly) anonymous (although many Israelis are here, I don’t know most of them, and it does not even get close to my network at home).
I enrolled at the university, joined a gym, and discovered New York as a resident, not a tourist. I built a new life in a foreign language and culture and am flourishing. I rediscovered myself. The number, which is my age, is a number. No more. No less. Yet, society uses this number as a tool to dwarf, belittle, ridicule, and render obsolete people who are in their prime, experienced, able, fit, sharp, young in temperament, spirit, and philosophy, and as far from retirement as can be.
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New Year's celebration, New York
New Year's celebration, New York
Building a life as a 65-year-old in New York City
(Photo: Reuters)
Regardless of age, anyone can forget a name, fall from their bike, drop their ice cream, be clumsy, and have physical limitations – just like Biden. Alas, I know of people in their 30s with severe back issues that make them walk funny – just like Biden. It can happen to anyone, and it can happen to you. Does that make you obsolete?
So, the world belongs to everyone, not only the young. It is all in our heads, my dear readers – what we think is what is, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Do what YOU feel like doing; forget about age-appropriate dress, behavior, and dreams. Love and respect the image you see in the mirror, use all your advantages, and do whatever you want– dance, travel, study, love, dress up as you wish – ignore “what will they say.” Fulfill your dreams and live -- because you are not dead.
  • Judy Mozes is an Israeli socialite, investor and talk show host.
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