The Societal Side-eye

    I’ll turn 43 next month. I seem to have a lot more grey hair than other people my age. Some people act towards me as if I’m old. Perhaps I am in their eyes.

    Fair enough, some days I wake up and I feel a million years old, but most of the time my fitness regime means that I feel pretty awesome.

    This article is about ignoring the ‘societal side-eye’ and doing badass things anyway. It’s something we all need to remember as we age: don’t be beholden to other people’s expectation of what’s appropriate.

    You and I are Way Too Old to let a societal side-eye sideline us from a badass life, however we define it.

    Who says we’re not supposed to even countenance the idea of learning to in-line skate. Or skateboard. Or paraglide. Or try trapeze work. Or aerial silks. Or whatever it was that got away from us as youths, and now beckons us back if we would only put in the training time. When does a timeline run out?

    If we do such things, particularly if we sport grey hair, we are subjected to



    Humans are a judgmental lot. We love to make fun of, mock and ridicule, especially those who are doing things we don’t have the guts to try. When some tiny Black woman well over a hundred heads out onto the track and runs a record time, we call her sweet or cute while she is engaging in serious badassery.


    It’s hard enough to age. It’s far harder to age in a ageist society which is eager to denounce and mock those of us who defy expectations and insist on writing our own history, full of whatever badassery fills our hearts.

    Source: You’re Too Old to Care About the Societal Side Eye When You Want to Be a Badass | Too Old for This Sh*t

    Should you lower your expectations?

    “Aim for the stars and maybe you’ll hit the treetops” was always the kind of advice I was given when I was younger. But extremely high expectations of oneself is not always a great thing. We have to learn that we’ve got limits. Some are physical, some are mental, and some are cultural:

    The problem with placing too much emphasis on your expectations—especially when they are exceedingly high—is that if you don’t meet them, you’re liable to feel sad, perhaps even burned out. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive for excellence, but there’s wisdom in not letting perfect be the enemy of good.
    A (now famous) 2006 study found that people in Denmark are the happiest in the world. Researchers also found that have remarkably low expectations. And then:
    In a more recent study that included more than 18,000 participants and was published in 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from University College in London examined people’s happiness from moment to moment. They found that “momentary happiness in response to outcomes of a probabilistic reward task is not explained by current task earnings, but by the combined influence of the recent reward expectations and prediction errors arising from those expectations.” In other words: Happiness at any given moment equals reality minus expectations.
    So if you've always got very high expectations that aren't being met, that's not a great situation to be in
    In the words of Jason Fried, founder and CEO of software company Basecamp and author of multiple books on workplace performance: “I used to set expectations in my head all day long. But constantly measuring reality against an imagined reality is taxing and tiring, [and] often wrings the joy out of experiencing something for what it is.”
    Source: Outside