I’ve been seeing quite a few cool people add ProAger to their bios lately. And I’ll admit, it sounds way cooler to me than Active Aging.
But then I did some research. And I quickly discovered why ProAging sounds so great. It’s advertising jargon created by the beauty industry as a trendy new way to talk about all those new anti anti-aging products they’re launching. When you drill down, you realize Pro-Aging is superficial and very limited in scope. Basically it’s a rebrand of anti-aging.
The key difference between ProAging and Active Aging comes down to age and gender and actual experience with the aging process.
The beauty biz and the media have crafted ProAging products/messages to appeal directly to women turning 40 – which is often when women first start thinking about aging.
And this is key: the “Pro” in ProAging is meant to suggest that you are PRO all aspects of aging i.e. you reject the notion not only of anti-aging products but you resist all activities and practices that would fight aging. Let me just be clear here – that’s the kind of hogwash you buy into when you’re 40 and have not had to deal with some of the downside of aging especially health issues. Nobody I know who is 50 and above has ever said, “yes, I’m pro strokes, diabetes, arthritis etc.” Wanting to be and look your best does not mean you’re angling to look like a 20-year old, on the other hand, you’re also not going to simply accept whatever health issues come your way if you have the knowledge and the opportunity to minimize them through exercise, diet and social activities. And believe me, good health goes hand in hand with improved appearance.
And that’s what makes Active Aging so much more relevant. Plus, it addresses the 50 and up crowd (men and women), and most especially those 60 and over.
It’s a concept the World Health Organization has adopted on a global basis. They define active aging as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age.”
This is a key interest of mine and I will be doing on-going research and writing more about this.
In the meantime, read on below for more on the distinctions between ProAging and Active Aging – down to the number of Google search results each term brings up as well as how each group is represented when you do an image search.
PRO-AGING IMAGE SEARCH RESULTS:
ACTIVE AGING IMAGE SEARCH RESULTS:
MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PRO-AGING AND ACTIVE AGING
Aging? It’s really quite relative isn’t it?
People make it out to be so much more difficult than it actually is (at least so far). What you don’t have a clue about when you’re younger, is that your mind gives you a whole new perspective on age – and where you are in your lifestage – as you get older. So yes, the aches and pains are a nuisance but assuming you’re not deathly ill, it is a very satisfying and happy time.
It’s incredibly interesting for me to experience, on a daily basis, social interactions with people at both ends of the age spectrum. First thing in the morning I’m at my gym – the Chinatown Y. It’s filled with dozens of Chinese people in their 80’s. They inspire me every single day with their joie de vivre, their dedication to their health, and to the amazing friendships they’ve formed at the gym – including with me. I don’t speak Chinese but I’ve clearly become part of their posse. After the gym, I head to my co-working membership club that is filled with primarily young (in their 20’s and 30’s), cool entrepreneurs and creatives. What’s fascinating is how similar both groups are in social behavior.
So for today, let me just say ProAging is perhaps the essential first step to becoming aware of age. But I’m still not crazy about the advertising vernacular being used. Active aging, on the other hand, is a concept that will help us to lead genuinely healthier, happier, more productive lives – no matter where we are on the age spectrum.