Ageist: The New Age
The entire nation is watching our city grow, and if they haven’t seen it, they have heard about it — it’s aging. As our downtown continues to write its history as a bustling western metropolis, it also continues to challenge the status quo and any preconceived ideas of how things should be done. With age, LA has become a beacon for forward thinkers, teachers, and builders contributing to a not so distant future where ideas and dreams thought to be once impossible can quickly become a reality. It’s a city where undoubtedly, you feel alive. Let’s think about the perspective of what it means to be alive DTLA, and challenge the acuity of the number attached to our living timeline.
Yes, our topic is age. But let’s do as our resident David Stewart has and break the shackles of a mechanical mindset to the biased notion of what it means to be over fifty. Let’s open up to the idea of living fast and dying old — this is Ageist, where aging is the coolest part of being human.
David Stewart founded Ageist when he was 56 and these days he is a very hard man to track down. He’s been jet-setting around the globe to speak about how Ageist is reinventing how life after 50 can be lived. But home to David is proudly here in DTLA, “ I travel a lot, and it’s really nice to come home to this city. In the Arts District, people are here for a purpose and reason; you don’t just one day wake up here. It’s a community in a way that other parts of the city outside of downtown is not.” This community — at The Row to be exact — is where David has chosen for the office of Ageist.
So what is exactly is Ageist?
“We are an impact business, and a side effect of our mission is changing the idea of what it means to age.” While pursuing a successful career as a photographer, David had a revelation during an ad shoot. “I noticed I was getting older and the people I was photographing were staying the same age, and isn’t that odd?” As fast as one of David’s photographs could be taken, “the idea crystallized in my head and I realized all the media companies ideas targeted at people my age are medicalized, infantilized and certainly doesn’t match the reality we are living.”
When it comes to modern media, the portrayal of someone over fifty couldn’t be more out of context to David. “Media communication is generally oriented that at a certain age you are a liability with a problem to be fixed, the bottom line thesis is there is something is wrong with you. When we look at this stuff, it’s offensive.”
Sixty is not the new forty.
Sixty is sixty.
So the mission began, and the last four years Ageist has been seeking out, interviewing and photographing people over the age of 50 who are pioneering creative, active and meaningful lifestyles. Ageist continues to discover what life over the age of 50 really looks like, and expose how wrong brands and media depict it.
David understands that “People in marketing love to target to demographics. Quantitative analysis doesn’t pick up someone’s values, and how they see themselves in the future. People also confuse being digital with being millennial, well the largest consumers of Apple products are over the age of 55. When it comes to the world of media, we are their biggest customers.” And David couldn’t be more on point. As over 50’s control $15 trillion in assets and income. Their political, social and economic sanding makes them the most powerful generation that has ever lived — think about that for a moment.
David’s energy is electric, his thoughts are HD, and he carries valuable insight to match his confident ideas, “We are cool, a lot of us don’t want to retire as we feel like we are finally at the peak of our powers.”
David pursues what no other organization has attempted, and it’s important to him that it is here DTLA as our city captures an energy he feeds off for his ideals, “There is a sense of potentiality, especially downtown LA that doesn’t exist elsewhere.”
Our city pairs well with Ageist’s epitome as many outside of California have overlooked DTLA in the past — well, our city is just getting started. People like David Stewart are the forward thinkers that continue to keep DTLA on pace to positively change perspective and aim to make history. Sign up for Ageist’s newsletter to connect instantly to inspirational, innovative and groundbreaking content born right here in our city.
Here’s to living fast and dying old DTLA.
Written by Travis Platt | Cover Photo of David Stewart by GL Askew II
Photography by David Harry Stewart for AGEIST.