Is Being Over 50 Different Today Than 20 Years Ago?
All aspects of how later life is being lived are changing. “When I studied martial arts, the toughest competitors were over 70; our Presidential candidates are over 65; musician Kim Gordon is 63; Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk is almost 50. And they’re all cool, fit, active human beings whose lives aren’t defined by their age,” says David Harry Stewart, founding partner of Agei.st, and guest on my Little White Lie FB Live show. How great is this news, fellow Little White Liars??
Ageist is a media company dedicated to promoting a better understanding of later lifestyles — and a must-see website if you want to know anything about insights, trends, and lifestyles of cool people like you over 50. Check out the entire interview with this brilliant man right here:
We dove into the conversation with this question: What is different about being over 50 now versus 20 years ago?
#1: Today you know you have the distinct possibility of living well into your 90’s, even 100’s! David says, “The belief of that really underpins everything. For instance, if you thought that you were really only going to live another five years, you’re probably just going to suck it up and … it’s the Lazy-Boy and the television, that’s it! But if you think you’ve got another 40, 50 years in front of you, you’re going to behave quite differently. You’re going to really investigate what’s around you. You’re going to get rid of the things that don’t work for you. And, you are going to emphasize the things that do work for you, and you’re probably going to look at life as having a whole second life.”
#2: This age group has made different lifestyle choices over the years. Ageist finds that we’re the first generation that has exercised our whole lives. We are more invested in our health, eating well, taking vitamins. We know it’s not good to smoke or be overweight. We’re better informed, and can avail ourselves of better choices than our parents did.
#3: This generation has decided to live a different agenda than our parents and grandparents did. They lived and worked in a steady way, “and then there was retirement and … they just kind of aged and went off into the sunset.” We want our life and legacy to be different. We have lots of things we want to do, opportunities to embrace.
We don’t live like “aging is a grim reality to be accepted,” as David says.
I asked why, then, do we keep getting messages from society that stereotype us as “old?” Why are brands not getting this? Why is AARP lagging behind the times, and avoided instead of respected and utilized?
David believes that “the line in the sand moved and they didn’t notice.” Also, David affirms what we talk about in the LWL Movement — that we live in a youth-obsessed culture which leaves anyone older than 40 (even 30) out in the cold. David says they’re easier to reach and market to, they have “quantifiable data” for the youth demographic, but the older demographic is more diverse, complex, less brand-loyal.
The truth is that “we actually provide 70% of the total consumer spending in America.” Time to listen to us, people (in fact, that’s one reason I founded The Little White Lie)!
Ageist has uncovered some great insights on the characteristics of the over-50 population that might be getting overlooked by the marketplace, under 50’s and, perhaps, even some of us over-50’s. So read on, and celebrate yourself…!
We ARE digital — not true that “only Millennials are digital!” (Check out my blog for more on this topic.)
We’re highly curious, with that “rational or irrational belief that we’re going to be around for a long time.”
We feel strong, vital, and empowered, but that’s not the way we’re depicted. “With pharma, you need to be disempowered so you can buy one of their products to empower you.” We’re getting older, so we have to be broken and need fixing.
We have knowledge and are (still) capable of learning. “Our group starts more businesses — and are more successful at it — than any other group in America.” (Check out my blog for more on this topic.)
Final thoughts from David — SO great: “It’s an entirely new life phase, and it’s never before existed. It’s really similar to the way the teenager was ‘invented’ in the 50s, or adolescents came to be in the early 1900s. We have this new period of time where we’re not young, but we’re not elderly … It’s this remarkable period of time! People talk so much about the downside to the aging population, that it’s this burden. Well, they can look at it that way, but the thing is, we keep working, we’re productive, and we’re consuming too. We’re not just living in a cave. There’s a lot of upside to this that I think people haven’t really looked at yet.
To learn more about David Harry Stewart and Ageist:
Website: AGEI – dot – ST (not dot com)
Facebook: Type “we are ageist”
Calling all Little White Liars! Have you looked at the upside of living until you’re 75, 80, 90, 100? What does, and can, it look like to you? How will you do it differently than it was done 20+ years ago? I really want to hear from you — join the LWL Movement community convo that’s happening all over the country and beyond!
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