The “New” Turning 60

by Jeff Weiss

The countdown has officially begun and the clock is ticking.  That’s right, it’s hard for me to believe, but in three months, I am turning 60. Yet, unlike most of my 59 year-old counterparts, I am not dreading it. In fact, I am actually looking forward to it.

As I spend a lot of my working hours trying to understand why most companies either ignore adults like me or market to them in stereotypical ways, I have come to realize that our society has a love affair and bias towards the youth. Combined with our general fear of getting older, which I call FOGO, it is not surprising that most people do not look forward to the aging process and/or aging milestones (birthdays included).

But our work, combined with our own research and data from other studies, tells me that perhaps our general attitudes around aging are all wrong. Perhaps getting older isn’t that bad and in fact, it can be the best part of your life.

The reality is that aging today is not what it was like for our grandparents and likely even our parents.  Perceptions around the “old” way of aging have likely resulted in many of the myths and stereotypes associated with getting older, many of which are reflected in our Dirty Dozen Myths of Aging.  So, it is not surprising that we might be led by media to believe that aging is a bad thing for society in terms of increased dependency, higher medical costs and decreased productivity. Basically we are told that getting older is neither good for our society or for us as individuals.

As a population we are getting older and there is no stopping it. Today there are over 110 million adults in Canada and the US aged 55+ who represent 30% of the population. By 2050, older adults will represent 36% of the population and by the year 2100, a staggering 42% of the population. And with the rapid transformation of what aging looks like, it would serve us all well to recognize this new reality.

There are many great things associated with getting older if we get over our FOGO and act on the right things that will allow us to live longer, healthier and happier lives. Now is the time to stop battling aging and embrace it. We need to take action now so that living longer doesn’t simply mean living a less healthy and lower quality of life for a longer period of time. Our goal should be to lengthen our lifespan and flatten the morbidity curve — that means not having a slow decline in health over time, but enjoying a longer and healthier life followed by a quick drop-off and death. That’s the way I want to go!

As I am about to turn 60, I have made a conscious decision to start making the changes in my life so that getting older becomes the best part of my life. If you want to understand and reach people like me, I can be contacted at jeff@ageofmajority.com.  Let’s chat!

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