This week, I was reminded twice, during two different meetings at work that, while I may think I am hip and cool, (and some of my twenty-something friends and colleagues will say that I am hip and cool), I am growing older.
Yes, despite the constant attention to my wrinkle creams and my exercise (or lack of it these days), I am indeed still growing older.
I was reminded of that fact during two separate occasions this past week.
First, was during a dialogue at a monthly book club meeting. It was an inter generational group at work. We were having a discussion about the book, “You Just Don’t Understand, Women and Men in Conversation“ by linguist professor Dr. Deborah Tannen. The book was written in 1990, and I agreed with the others in my group that much has changed for women (and for men) in the almost past 20 years since the book was written.
I felt comfortable as we answered questions about the different chapters, until one of the thirty-something women in the group looked at me and said, “what about YOUR generation, it must be different for YOUR generation of women.”
At first, I looked surprised. Was she talking to me? I suddenly felt like I had a tattoo on my face that said YOUR generation on it and that MY generation was no longer hip and cool.
Was I going to have to tell my age, was I going to have to admit that I was of the OLDER generation she was referring to? Was I going to have to come right out and say that okay “YES I AM THE OLDEST PERSON IN THE ROOM?” (Even though 50 is the new 30, so I could have said I am the same age as her if I wanted to…but I didn’t.)
“Yes, I am 51, five zero plus one,” I said proudly. “Much has changed, but I cannot speak for MY entire generation of baby boomer women.”
Later in the week, it happened again. I was in a meeting making a presentation about social networking and MY generation became the focal point of discussion again. “OUR generation just doesn’t utilize technology like the younger generation does,” said a fellow baby boomer colleague. I wanted to take offense, I wanted to scream and shout that OUR generation is hip and cool and is comfortable with social media. I wanted to say that I read in a recent article that OUR generation is joining Facebook at a faster pace than Gen X or Y.
But, then I thought about my new Kindle sitting in the box in my closet that I haven’t opened yet.
And I thought about how long it takes me to text a message compared to my Gen Y son and daughter
And I thought about how I still cannot figure out how to work my DVD player in my bedroom, let alone a potential DVR machine (a machine that I don’t even own, but a machine that ALL my Gen Y colleagues own).
And I started to think, I am growing older…I am, yes MY generation is getting older.
But then, then I opened up my favorite NY Times newspaper (the hard copy newspaper that I read every day…the newspaper that gets newsprint all over my 51 year old hands each and every day) and I read the Advertising article in the Business Section. “The Older Audience is Looking Better Than Ever,” wrote Stuart Elliott. (I like Stuart, he is sooooo smart.) He made me feel better. Here’s what Stuart said and others in the article had to say about MY generation:
– “The estimated 78 million people born from 1946 to 1964 – who have long set the agenda for Madison Avenue because of their numbers – are aging.” (Yes, yes, we are getting older.)
– According to Mr. Andy Donchin, director for media investments at Carat, an agency of the Aegis Group, “this country is aging, and the boomers are an attractive demographic…and the boomers are even comfortable with digital media” (I like Andy, he is soooooo smart too.)
– “The boomers offer advertisers ‘an audience that has assets not allowances’,” said Henry Schleiff, president and chief executive at Hallmark Channels. (Oh, Henry, I love this quote.)
– “The changing of the guard among older consumers is even becoming part of the popular culture,” added Mr. Donchin, citing television shows about ‘cougars,’ older women who pursue younger men.” (Not that I am pursuing younger men in the dating scene, but my Gen Y son did say I was looking all grown up the other week as he checked out my hip and cool outfit before I left for my date.)
As I ended the week at a dinner for my fabulous looking, soon to be 60 year old sister-in-law, I felt much better about getting older than I did when the week began. What incredible baby boomer women we all were sitting around the long table with white linens – all 15 of us,(most 50 – 60+ years old) dining on real filet mignon at a real steak house. It was a great evening.
Think this blog post calls for a quote from my favorite Cosmo Girl, Helen Gurley Brown. As Helen says,
“After you’re older, two things are possibly more important than any others: health and money.”
Helen is so smart, always was and always will be one of my favorite editors. Think I will have to read her new biography, “Bad Girls Go Everywhere.”