On age in United States: No gray area behind inventors of ‘new 40’

I read the other day that, as ages go, 60 is the new 40. (For mathematical and all other purposes, 60 remains the old 60.)

This interests me, as I am age New 40. Or, if you’re using the old method of keeping score, 60. And I am looking for any advantage I can get.

Although it does lead me to some questions:

1. If 60 is the new 40, what does that make 20? The new 10? Whatever happened to 30? Did it turn into 15?


B. Does this mean I get a do-over for the last 20 years? Because there are a couple of things I’d like to get second chances on, if you don’t mind. Stock purchases, mostly.


Wasn’t it about 20 years ago when someone said 40 was the new 20?

You know who’s behind this 60-is-the-new-40 business? People in their 60s.

You know why? Oh, you can hear that it’s because increasing life expectancy means middle age lasts longer than it once did, and people remain vital and active much later in life, but I think that’s bad ham salad — about half-baloney.

I suspect it’s really because we people in our 60s remember our parents and grandparents when they were in their 60s and how positively ancient they seemed. And we are scared to death, so to speak, of being ancient — positively, negatively or otherwise. So we recalibrate and come up with a way to make ourselves feel younger than we are.

I’ve said it before and (obviously) I’ll say it again: We are screwy about age in this country. When we’re kids, we’re in a hurry to become so-called adults. I was going to say “grow up” but there’s no evidence of that actually happening anymore. We grow older, yes, but growing up — well, look at the behavior downtown on a Saturday night and you’ll see there’s been very little done in the way of growing up.

So we finally hit this adulthood thing and what happens? Well, in addition to acting like it never happened (see above under: Saturday night behavior) we start fudging the numbers. I know. I was guilty of it myself. When I was 45, I used to tell people I was in my late 30s. My extremely late 30s.

Actually, I’ve been pretty happy being New 40, or 60 for you old-fashioned types. Oh, sure, there are some aches and pains that come with age that I’d rather be without. I move slower in the mornings. Also the afternoons and evenings. And there’s a whole digital world out there that I have to really work to understand.

But I can live with that. In exchange I get memories and experience — lots of each. And they make me pretty happy, which is a nice way to live.

My idea? Be the age you are and act the age you feel — within reason. Dress appropriately. Don’t be in a hurry to get older and don’t try to hang on to youth that has passed. Just live your life for as many years as you are allotted, and make it a good one. And keep in mind that very little of the cultural stuff that seems vitally important today will really matter in the long run, 20 years from now. When I’m 60 again.