Posts Tagged ‘younger’

At the intersection of pop culture and social change

I’ve always been a pop-culture junkie. Growing up, my mom and I would watch Laugh-In together in her bed, and although my father warned me that my college degree in TV and film would never get me anywhere, I’m glad to say that at least on this, he was wrong.

portable-tvI never doubted the power of pop culture to influence the world around us. After all, I might not be working in the field of social change if I hadn’t been inspired to make a difference by The West Wing. I might not be running my own freelance writing business if it weren’t for the examples of strong, independent women I saw in countless TV shows and films during my formative years, or the seriously strong influence of singer/songwriters like Tori Amos.

But pop culture was always more of a personal obsession — until now. The whip-smart folks at AndACTION have created a super-cool project that uses stories from TV and film to elevate issues being championed by nonprofit organizations and foundations.

In their own words:

AndACTION is a pop-culture hub that gives nonprofits inside intel on upcoming and recent film and TV storylines on the issues they care about. We hunt down leads and suggest creative ways to use them and make a meaningful difference. By recognizing the power of pop culture, nonprofits can engage new audiences – and be a step ahead of what everyone will be talking about tomorrow.

AndACTION connects do-gooders with storytellers, raising everyone’s profile with the ultimate goal of driving positive change. Think about it: Would you rather tune into a political speech on C-SPAN or watch a couple episodes of House of Cards? Okay, some people love doing both, but the fact is that AndACTION puts to work the proven idea that stories have unparalleled power to change hearts and minds.

Pop culture, storytelling and social change are three of my favorite things, so imagine my delight when I was asked to begin contributing content to AndACTION’s blog and other projects. Every so often, worlds collide in the best possible way. Kind of like something you think only happens in the movies.

I’m thrilled for the chance to write about the intersection of pop culture and social change on a regular basis. Check out my first post for AndACTION, which takes a look at how pop culture is helping to topple one of the last -isms left: ageism.

And stay tuned. There’s much more on the way.

Is 40 really the new 30?

I’ve been told many times in recent months that I look like I’m in my early 30s. I have no problem with this, because I just turned 47.

Before you assume people were just being nice, I will hasten to point out they had no reason to be. Some of them don’t even know what I look like, because we interact via phone and Internet exclusively.

One person was a store clerk. I mentioned it was my birthday and she wanted to guess my age. She said 34. There was no potential tip in it for her. Another was a colleague who guessed I was in my 30s, without ever having seen me. I still get carded a lot buying booze, too.

Is 40 really the new 30?

I have other examples, but you get the picture. The thing is, I haven’t really changed anything about my physical appearance lately. For once, my hairstyle has not evolved throughout the year. I haven’t gained or lost weight. I haven’t taken on a new style or fallen in love. No tangible reason for me to have a particularly youthful glow.

Plus, some people don’t even know me from anything other than my Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profiles, and my photos there are quite recent. So they’re going on other clues, I suppose.

What is it, then, that makes me seem so young? Am I just one of those people who is naturally young at heart? I can’t argue with that, because I certainly don’t feel 47, at least not most days. I do stay current with trends and news, music and pop culture, so I can talk about things with my 20-something friends and family that other people my age can’t.

But there has to be more to it than that. I’m wondering if it’s the fact that I’m generally energetic and enthusiastic, characteristics that can fade with age (not that they always do). Does a typically sunny disposition and optimistic attitude make you seem younger? Or am I just damn lucky to have good skin and enough brains to stay out of the sun?

I suppose everyone has their own reasons for thinking I’m younger than I am. And far be it from me to argue with any one of them.