Sixty isn't the "New" Anything. Except sixty.

Posted on June 3, 2010

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I’m venting. I’m seriously so tired of hearing people say things like “Sixty is the new fifty.” Or forty. Or even thirty. This morning, on one of the talk shows, I caught about 30 seconds of the guest going on and on about how sixty-year olds should go mountain climbing and have pajama parties and join Facebook and meet people on Match.com, whatever they want. OK, I thought, I like the general concept. But then the host asked, “So sixty is the new forty?” I froze. The guest chirpily answered, “No, sixty is the new twenty!!!”

OK, folks, here’s the deal. Sixty isn’t anything other than sixty. Got it? If you are twenty, and you like to jump up and down on a bed and have pillow fights, does that make twenty the new five?” If you are twenty, you are twenty. If you are sixty, you are sixty. Sorry, but the iPad doesn’t, to my knowledge, include a time machine.

I know what people are trying to say, but I’d like it said in a different way, a meaningful way: Sixty-year olds are redefining what it means to be sixty. We aren’t any age other than what we are. We are simply giving a new definition of what that is. My sixty three isn’t twenty (A quick check of my body parts will confirm that). But, my sixty three is vastly different than my parents’ sixty three.

Sixty year olds now have access to all the wonders medical science can provide, including replacing or repairing a lot of internal and external body parts. Medications and nutrition keep us alive longer. Gyms are on every street corner. And the internet allows up to connect with each other in a way that our parents’ generation couldn’t have conceived of (I met my Now Husband Dan on Match.com).

So, please, give us the respect we deserve. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today. I wouldn’t change that for anything. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to magically change some things (two, for example). It just means I like me and I like me at sixty three. I’m not the “new twenty.” I’m the “new sixty three.”

I’m finished now.

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