Turning 50 is a crucial time in our lives. We have worked many years to refine ourselves, to become better humans, to be more patient to be more gracious, to give more and take less, to be of service to our community, nurturers, carers, providers, and protectors to our family. At this time in our lives, men particularly, are valued on whether they have achieved financial success, or any of those high-minded ideals, or noble intentions expressed in their younger years. After living half a century, at the least, we hope it can be said that most of us have accumulated a fair degree of wisdom and experience throughout our many years, and we wish to be seen by society as a valuable source of insight and information. Sadly, that’s not always the case.

“It’s only at this stage of my life, I’ve come to understand what it means to cut out the noise around me, to share freely with others what I have learned, and to live life more transparently.”

After turning 40 years of age, may of us will be unemployable. If we are blessed to be employed at the same job through our forties and into our fifties, that could very well be the last job we ever hold as a paid employee. By some chance we should find ourselves seeking employment, we can expect to find the job hunting experience to be extremely difficult and soul-wrenching. We both know that you can do the job, or perform the role. We both know that you have the qualifications or have the ability to attain them. We also both know that the chance that you’re being discriminated against because of your age is very high.

One explanation is societies obsession with looking young and staying young. The pursuit of agelessness, beauty, and youth has certainly translated into the work force. Simply put, mature age employees are not as valued as they should be. You’ll hear stories of Senior Partners being dumped in exchange for younger, enthusiastic, up and comers. Admittedly, in my twenties, I certainly took advantage of societies desire to surround itself with strong, youthful bodies full of eagerness to eventually get used up and thrown away.

But I’m not finished, and I’m certainly not ready to be discarded. My high ideals and noble intentions are in full effect. As a matter of fact, at 53, I am more capable than I’ve ever been. My attitude about many things has changed profoundly. My personal selfishness has waned. It’s only at this stage of my life, I’ve come to understand what it means to cut out the noise around me, to share freely with others what I have learned, and to live life more transparently.

I still have hope that people in this world will make individual decisions that will lead to the world being a better place. But that can’t happen in a world where we insist that weakness is a virtue, where taking responsibility is optional, and sensitivity is preferred over truth. Younger people need to toughen up. Develop a real sense of self. Do the work, think things through, and not be debilitated by every little challenge; because these experiences will help you gain perspective, keep you on track, and instill passion and commitment to your cause, whatever that may be.