Jan was listening to Radio 4 recently and heard a comic say “70 is the New 50.”
Okay, he was being satirical. But someone is probably saying it seriously. Because they genuinely feel that 70 IS the New 50.
How do we know that? Because a decade-and-a-half ago, 50 was the New 30; then 60 was the New 40 or the New 50. And, ta-da, “70 is the New 50.”
We’re sure you can see a pattern emerging. As those of us born between 1945 and 1955 (i.e. the Baby-Boomers) reach a new decade, that decade becomes The New 30, The New 40, The New 50, etc.
Naturally, all the claims about 50 being the New 30; 60 the New 40, etc, have been reinforced with stories and photos, frequently of women of 55 or 60 looking far hotter than a young reporter or sub-editor expects them to look. This is because his or her role model for an Older Women is his or her gran, who may be 91, a touch overweight and thinks style is best left to the “youngsters”.
There are various other explanations for the “50 is the New 30” phenomenon. Apart from the one just suggested, that all those reporters, subs and columnists are very young, so tend to aggregate everyone aged over 50 into a group labelled “old.” Another possible explanation is that the columnists and editors are themselves Boomers. They are keen to demonstrate their continuing value and that of an entire generation by focusing on a specific 62-year old and extrapolating that 60 is the New 17, or whatever….
The more likely explanation, however, is that we Boomers are in state of denial and/or surprise that we are ageing.
We were The Who’s “My Generation” and the generation Dylan sang about in “The Times They Are A Changin’”. We were Steve Jobs and Richard Branson; Mick Jagger and Roger Daltry; Meryl Streep and Charlotte Rampling. We were the Permissive Society and The Pill; we were the Moon Landing, and the end of Polio, TB and Smallpox…
We think we are still across it but we also know the Gen-Xers (and, indeed, our own kids) are snapping at our heels and it scares us. But we are not prepared to, in Shakespeare’s magnificent phrase, “go gently into that good night…” we are going with great reluctance and letting everyone know we are still relevant…
So relevant, indeed, that in 10 years’ time, we should prepare for headlines saying that 80 is the New 40. Actually, with Glenda Jackson, 82, wowing audiences with her portrayal of King Lear at London’s Old Vic, and Bake-Off‘s Mary Berry, 81, set to get a new BBC1 series, and, of course, the ongoing wonderfulness of Dame Judi Dench, 80 already is the New 40 – except those in their eighties are not Boomers.
And in 20 years’ time, if we Boomers are still breathing (and we probably will be because we are also the generation that pioneered fitness as a lifestyle choice rather than as the by-product of simply living) we predict headlines saying “90 is the New 50.”
So what do you think? Do you believe 70 is the new 50, or that we baby boomers are in denial?
You’ve got a valid opinion! Let’s hear it below…
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