Robi Ludwig, Psy.D. is a nationally known psychotherapist, award-winning reporter, and author. She is a relationship contributor for Investigation Discovery Network’s Scorned, and has hosted TLC’s reality show One Week to Save Your Marriage and GSN’s Without Prejudice? Dr. Ludwig is a regular guest on CNN, Fox News, and Headline News, discussing psychological and lifestyle issues as well as the criminal mind. She has appeared on Today, Entertainment Tonight, 20/20, World News Tonight, Nightline, The View, Fox and Friends, Steve Harvey, The Wendy Williams Show, and is on the medical board and a contributor for BELLA Magazine. She also writes for the Huffington Post. Dr. Ludwig lives in New York City.
Robi Ludwig helps SV’s Bob Shuman through the golden years,in a two-part interview—Part 2 will be published 4/4.
What led you to write Your Best Age Is Now—and when did you discover aging was something you were interested in?
It was really my own personal experiences that led me to write about midlife and aging: I perceived how age was being discussed during certain TV interviews, what the information about aging really was out there, and how the myths about midlife were not jiving or in sync with what I was seeing. Midlife, typically, is described as a time of loss or losing it, yet I was seeing much more positive and youthful examples of midlife and aging, both in my daily life and in my professional life. I felt the need to write about them.
How about if people are fine with their aging—they just don’t think society knows how to deal with it.
I think that’s great! If a person is fine with aging I say, “Go, you!” My book can be for people who are fine with aging, too. I just have observed, in general, that our culture makes it hard to age, because of the very internalized and incorrect biases our society holds onto so tightly.
Did you laugh at Jimmy Kimmel’s joke at the Oscars when he said, “we are very welcoming to outsiders here in Hollywood—we [only] discriminate against them based on their age and weight?” Isn’t he right? Are we dealing with real discrimination or is it in our heads?
I do think Hollywood is particularly guilty of age and weight discrimination because it tends to be youth-obsessed and movies are a business that caters to visual perfection and fantasy. Having said that, cultural ideas, even if they are biased and incorrect, can creep into the social consciousness of our collective psyches and create arbitrary expiration dates, which can be very dangerous emotionally–both for individuals and our society.
How would you describe what your book is about?
Your Best Age Is Now highlights some of the distortions about midlife and aging and combats them with the latest science. I also have midlife mentors, in each chapter, who are quite inspiring—they discuss how they live life passionately and successfully. We all need role models! So my book offers a program for people to follow, so they can inspire themselves to fight ageism with new and more accurate information–and in doing so, open up life possibilities
What mistakes do you see women making regarding their ages that bother you?
The biggest mistake I see people make is when they go into a self-attack regarding the aging process. They may be experiencing getting older as a way to rule themselves out of the kind of lives they want to experience.
Can’t women age gracefully anymore?
Women can absolutely age gracefully, and many do. But the biggest part of aging gracefully is first to be able to age gracefully in your mind. The rest of the process can–and often does–happen from there.
But you’re well-educated and successful—isn’t this subject different for someone like you?
I think there is a universality to the human experience, even if you’re well-educated and successful. Everyone wants to remain relevant, no matter how well-educated or successful he or she appears to the outside world.
For those who have worked in other careers or raised a family, how can they respond to the presumption that their “experience is from some time ago and might not translate well into a role in the present day”?
The midlife worker, who has taken time out from the working world, will need to get back up to speed. When it comes to a career someone is looking to get back into, this can be done by reading and becoming informed. It might also mean taking some new courses. But what’s nice about midlife workers, who have taken some time out, is that they have so many more connections than they did when they were younger. And many of these connections can be helpful when segueing back into the work world.
Isn’t it better for companies to have younger employees, though—wouldn’t the bottom line be less and wouldn’t it be easier to pass on corporate ways of working?
I think there is a place for all workers and that the right employees should be hired on more than just age criteria. Employment should be based on hiring the best person for the job, her relevance, how she is staying current, how she is passionate about the work, and what value she–or he–adds to the company or team.
The most amazing transformation you’ve seen in a client or acquaintance regarding aging?
The most amazing transformation I’ve seen was with one of my clients, who considered herself unlucky and a failure at love. She changed her mind, found the man of her dreams during midlife, and went on to live the life she always wanted to live. She’s never been happier or felt more satisfied.
Thank you so much. We’ll look forward to next week.
View Your Best Age Is Now, from HarperOne, on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Your-Best-Age-Now-Soul-Satisfying/dp/0062357190/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490750224&sr=8-1&keywords=your+best+age+now
Visit Dr. Ludwig’s Web site: http://drrobiludwig.com/