Image from “Inclined Elders: How to rebrand aging for self and society.”
Ramona Oliver (71) has long been passionate about supporting individuals with their personal and professional development. As a septuagenarian, this passion is now directed toward positive aging – specifically, aging with an attitude of “Incline.”
Formerly, Ramona has taken on roles including human resource manager/director, career coach, and director of outreach. As a human resource director for many years, she championed the professional development of employees. While serving as president of the Austin Human Resource Management Association, she led a team that designed, developed, and implemented an award-winning leadership program. In addition, she launched a workforce readiness committee that partnered with community organizations to implement workforce readiness initiatives. At St. Edward’s University, she promoted the adult undergraduate and graduate programs to older adults in the Austin community.
Ramona currently serves as an advocate of positive aging. Rather than accepting a mindset of decline, Ramona is passionate about living life with an attitude of Incline. She has been published on the Changing Aging website, offering posts with titles such as “Can We Please Stop Calling It Aging,” “What Are We Missing When We Settle for Life Stages?” and “Leave a Legacy and Live It Now!” She earned her Master of Business Administration from St. Edward’s University. Ramona lives in Austin, Texas.
MY JOURNEY OF CONTINUOUS INCLINE
From an early age I’ve had a curious nature, always receptive to new adventures and learning. After graduating from high school, I travelled throughout Europe and lived in London, England, for a time. Returning home, I began my professional career. I reinvented myself several times by exploring new opportunities, while always seeking challenge and advancement. I soon realized I wanted to apply my inherent desire for continuous personal and professional growth, or Incline, in service to others. Thus, my passion for helping people with their personal growth became a common thread throughout my life: as a human resource manager/director, career coach, and director of outreach for a university, where I promoted lifelong learning and adult undergraduate and graduate programs.
Along the way, I returned to school in my fifties and earned my undergraduate degree. I enjoyed the journey so much I stayed on and earned my master’s. My curious and adventurous nature continued into my sixties and my passion for continuous Incline persists. At the age of seventy, I took on the challenge of writing Inclined Elders: How to rebrand aging for self and society. It’s now my intention to continue to climb the hill and Incline as I proceed into my eighties, nineties, and beyond, while still exploring as many new adventures as is possible.
Mine is just one way in which a life of Incline can manifest itself because lifelong learning has been such a personal passion. Yet, everyone can embrace the desire to Incline in their own, unique way.
Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of people to provide them with the tools and support they needed to continue to develop and grow. The gift I’ve received has always been the glimmer of hope in their eyes as they realized they could overcome their limiting beliefs and self-doubt and attain their chosen goals. It is my intention to continue to serve as such a guide to hopefully inspire others to “age with an attitude of Incline.”
WHY EMBRACE A LIFE OF INCLINE?
For the first time in history we are not only living longer, everyone has an important choice to make: commit to a meaningful, purposeful life of “Incline” as we get older or believe that a new stage – one of steady “decline” – is inevitable. What is not helping is that in the media and society in general there continues the somewhat negative connotation surrounding the concept of aging. And while, at least not now, we cannot do anything about the chronological process of becoming 60, 70, 80 years and beyond, we can change the mindset for it. Embracing change and looking at life with a keener sense of curiosity will lead to living with increased courage to live life to its fullest.
My book, Inclined Elders, is a call to action for you to opt for Incline. Not only for your personal fulfillment, but also to help fuel a social “legacy” that increases the number of positive older role models in everyday life.
WHO ARE INCLINED ELDERS??
We are the women and men who have made a conscious choice to ignore society’s negative mindset of “decline” and “over-the-hill” as we age. Instead, we embrace a positive mindset of continuing to “Incline” and “climb the hill.”
Why, you may ask? Because we intend to live a life of achievement, meaning, and purpose and not allow more birthdays to get in the way.
The metaphor of a hill is an apt one because hills are easier and more enjoyable to climb than steep, lofty mountains, while still allowing for inspiring discoveries and adventures. Some pathways may have twists and turns, and there may be the odd bump, but we continue the ascent. Why? Because the vistas on the trek upward are increasingly breathtaking and exhilarating.
Inclined Elders know that there’s no need to rush; it’s not a race. We take one step at a time so that we can pause to smile at the waving wildflowers along the road.
Your attitude determines the potential for your altitude, so a shift in mindset is required, regardless of age. As you awaken to each new day as an Inclined Elder, the sunrise will greet you with a symphony of color to applaud your choice to “Incline” and “climb the hill.” You will continue to broaden your experience and deepen your joy of life.
Serving as vibrant role models, the Inclined Elders I know are leaving their own unique legacies of wisdom and inspiration for future generations. There needs to be more of us to effect real social change, so why not “Incline” too? There’s an amazing view from up here; come with me and see for yourself.
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
Over the years, I’ve reinvented myself, personally and professionally, several times. As a septuagenarian I’m reimagining myself once again. I recently published Inclined Elders and I’m now embarking on a new adventure to serve as an advocate of positive aging. Rather than accept society’s negative connotation that aging is all about decline and being over-the-hill, I’ve made a conscious choice to “Incline” and “continue to climb the hill.” I plan to promote that attitude and mindset to others by sharing the stories of the Inclined Elders contained in my book. Over 50 men and women ranging in age from 40 to 100 share their tips and techniques on how to live a life of Incline. Their strategies are supported by scientific evidence from the fields of Positive Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology. If my book inspires or motivates others to live a life of Incline, that will be my gift.
I look forward to seeing you on the path!