May 8, 2010, 1:25 PM
Post #1 of 1
Since the 1950s and 60s, North American culture has been greatly preoccupied with youth. In fact, our cultural icons are getting ever younger and younger to where movie stars and others basking in their allotted 15-minutes of fame seem to be mere children. Even government policy has bought into the anti-aging bandwagon by declaring that children do not become adults until past the age of 26, as is the case with the newly minted U.S. healthcare legislation that mandates “children” can remain covered under their parents’ health insurance until they reach age 26.
We’re also seeing a revolt against aging at the other end of the spectrum with Baby-Boomers questing to evade old age by engaging in activities traditionally enjoyed by the young. Hang gliders, surfboards, snow boards, Harley Davidson motorcycles and a myriad of toys designed to reflect the youthful attitude of their owners have boosted our sagging economy. Sales of Viagra, Levitra and Cialis are promising men of a certain age that they can behave like randy 16-year olds out on their first date.
In 2008, Zoomer Magazine was launched in Canada promising near eternal youth to its devotees with fashion spreads featuring skinny, grizzled, unshaven male models dressing like their 22-year old counterparts and 55-year old women that have managed to retain that “dewy” youthful look of 30-somethings through stringent dieting, personal trainers, cosmetic surgery and serious investments in their wardrobe.
In fact, the founder of Zoomer Magazine, media mogul Moses Znaimer, bills himself as “having the body of a 65-year old, the mind of a 45-year old and the libido of a 25-year old”, presumably augmented through liberal resort to ginkgo biloba and Cialis. I’ve always suspected that the Zoomer culture played on individuals’ fears about aging and Moses Znaimer’s own dark demons in particular. There’s nothing adverse about having a 65-year old body, mind and libido. It’s how evolution designed us to forestall geriatrics from having babies that will be orphaned before they’re out of their teens. In my opinion a 65-year old mind is preferable to a 45-year old mind because in most cases that 65-year-old brain is tempered by wisdom gained through a lifetime of experience.
There’s something positively macabre about the way our society seems to clutch at youth, as if maturity meant the end of the line. Nivea has a commercial on television advertising “anti-aging” cream. It seem to me that this could create wonderful fodder for a class-action lawsuit if, say a group of women who used this product found that after using it for five years they were actually five years older.
The whole anti-aging-Zoomer movement reeks of ageism, given the apparent phobia of oldness that seems to permeate the culture. As I wrote in my previous column, “the only way to avoid old age is to die young” is one of life’s great truths. No amount of anti-ageing paraphernalia or Zoomer boosting will make one iota of difference. Most mature people with whom I am acquainted are happy to be the age they are and wouldn’t want to be younger again for anything. There’s a certain inner peace and wisdom that comes with maturity and life can be enjoyed without the frenetic futility of trying to recapture one’s youth.
Klaus Rohrich is President and Creative Director of Taylor/Rohrich Associates Inc., a marketing and advertising firm that specializes in niche marketing retirement real estate developments
(This post was edited by klaus on May 10, 2010, 10:01 AM)