Taste of the Talk | Dr. Bill Thomas, “Elderhood Rising: The Dawn of a New World Age”

TEDxSF: Tell us a little about your background.

BT: I’m the rarest kind of physician, a specialist who takes care of older people. I’ve spent much of my career looking at American society and how they struggle with questions related to aging… it’s the neutron bomb of American culture in the first half of the twenty-first century. We are going to see the oldest society that the country’s ever seen, perhaps the world has ever seen. Aging is going to be the dominant issue, politically and economically for decades to come. I’m looking forward to sharing some ideas about how this going to change all of us, young and old alike.

As we develop an aging society and as we change we have to re-create aging and we have to remake elderhood so it fits the lives we live now. And old ideas about old age are not going to serve us well. It’s about the new old age that coming in right now.

TEDxSF: So is 50 the new 30?

BT: Fifty is the fifty! Seventy is the new seventy! My talk is really about finding worth within the context of authentic human aging… The clock has a way of enforcing our interest in aging. Every day every person wakes up one day older and that turns out to be a very important and inescapable reality.

TEDxSF: How do you live your best life?

The most important thing I do is I don’t do anything I don’t want to do. It tends to be a very effective rule in living my best life and I urge others to adopt it. Its interesting, it takes awhile to get over the idea of doing things that you don’t want to do because other people want you to do them. But those things rarely lead us in the direction of our own dreams, ambitions and passion for life. You have to spend time doing things YOU want to do.

Listen to the full interview below:

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