Rethinking what it means to grow older

The skies the limit. Sharon Lagden with skydiving instructor.

Everyday Australians are starring in a new series that challenges age-old stereotypes around the over-50s, following the journeys of 11 people with a zest for life and total disregard for the number of candles on their birthday cake.

Ageless, airing on Nine Network from 23 March, is aimed at inspiring and challenging Australians to rethink what it means to ‘grow older’ through the stories of those who possess such a thirst for new experiences it would appear they never age.

The red carpet was rolled out for the premiere of the eight-part series on 12 March at GemLife Maroochy Quays on the Sunshine Coast, where 100 guests rubbed shoulders with the stars, including 64-year-old GemLife Palmwoods resident Sharon Lagden, who shares how surviving breast cancer and depression led her to create a bucket list that made her “feel alive”.

In Ageless episode five – Taking a Leap, host Grey Rogers meets with Sharon and her husband Kevin to reflect on what it means to live life with no regret before she ticks off one of her top goals — skydiving.

“Having a cancer diagnosis, coming out of that and then getting depression makes you want to do things that make you feel alive,” said Mrs Lagden.

“That’s why creating my bucket list, taking the leap to skydive, and embracing new opportunities such as joining the Ageless series have been important to me.

“You should never let your age hold you back from living life to the very fullest.

“I hope my journey inspires others to realise that age is merely a label. Don’t allow it, or fear, to hold you back from pursuing what you want.

“For me, embracing agelessness involves continually embracing new challenges and venturing beyond comfort zones. As you get older it’s not your age that defines you, it’s your attitude.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Ageless features people from across the country aged 56 to 81, including a 56-year-old blind motorcyclist aiming to become the fastest vision-impaired person on earth, and a 70-year-old widow running a 20,000ha outback property on her own.

In the series’ first episode: As You Age You Get More Cool, Mr Rogers meets style icon, influencer, author and rebel Sarah Jane Adams from inner-city Sydney.

The international antique jewellery dealer found herself thrust into Instagram stardom overnight in her 50s, after a photo her daughter posted online capturing her unique style went viral, fast-tracking an international modelling career in her 60s.

“What I hope people take away from the series and my story is that every morning you wake up is a gift. You’re never too old to do what you want or try new things,” said Mrs Adams.

“Life is short, so it’s important to continue to challenge yourself each day, regardless of your age.

“The older you get, the ‘more cool’ you become because you’re more aware of who you are.

“Embrace that and forget the rules and regulations about how people are expected to act and live.

“If you’re not harming someone else, do what feels right for you and live a life that is true to yourself.”

Leading over-50s lifestyle resort developer GemLife commissioned the series to inspire older Australians to live their lives to the fullest, and to challenge out-of-date misconceptions about ageing.

GemLife Director and Chief Executive Officer Adrian Puljich said the new series was sure to spark conversation.

“We want the show to encourage viewers of all ages to question how they define ageing and embrace the concept of agelessness,” he said.

“We see people who defy stereotypes in our communities every day and we want the wider community to understand there is more to age than a number.

“While the dictionary typically defines being ageless as ‘appearing younger than one’s age’ the show challenges this tired view by showcasing people who embody the ‘ageless’ mindset.

“Each tale is so personal and it has been a true privilege to be part of such a heart-warming series.”

Catch Ageless, airing each Saturday from 23 March to 11 May, on Channel Nine and online on the GemLife website.

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