Wednesday, March 21, 2007

50 is the new 35

Alan Caruba over at the Anxiety Center writes about age. (I've always said 50 is the new 35):

Is 70 the New 50?

Recently I helped a friend of mine revise his resume. This gentleman, now in his early 70s, has a Ph.D. and the kind of knowledge and skills it literally takes a lifetime to acquire. But there’s a catch. Most of the people with whom he has worked over his distinguished career are no longer active.

What a waste

Because Americans are living longer, often enjoying good health late in life, the question must be asked, is 70 the new 50?

According to data from the Senior Job Bank, America’s workforce is aging. By 2006 more than 15% of the U.S. labor force was 55 or older. By 2004 there were more than 33 million people aged 65 or older living in America, representing 12.7% of the total population, about one out of every eight Americans. With every passing year, those numbers increase.

Senior citizens and aging baby boomers are the fastest growing demographic segment of the population. The stereotypes surrounding today’s senior frequently do not apply and this is especially true of those who have led vigorous intellectual lives in various professions and enterprises, and who want to continue.

Interesting point Alan raises here, he goes on...................

Old doesn’t mean brain-dead. It took the oldest President of our era to bring the Soviet Union to its knees and the senior citizen vote can determine who gets elected. A generation whose parents went through the Depression, who recall the abuse of presidential power that Watergate represents, or the folly of the Vietnam War, is not likely to be fooled by political clich├ęs.

The irony is that, when they were born, the average life expectancy for a man was about 60 years of age. That’s why, when Social Security was introduced, one began receiving checks on reaching age 65. A lot of folks didn’t and the government, not their families, pocketed their withheld earnings.

Alan then outlines social welfare concerns in the US, before concluding

A nation that ignores a large part of its population with excellent skills is making a very big mistake. This is particularly true as we witness whole new generations that lack fundamental skills in reading, writing, and mathematics, many of whom have graduated from failed schools where indoctrination outweighs education. The cost of a college education today is truly obscene, saddling students with large debt before they even step out into the working world.

It is a fearful thing to encounter the gross ignorance of a younger generation that often seems only to know what it has "learned" from television and movies.

I am all for youth. However, until they can figure out what they’re going to do with their lives, it remains the task of older heads to insure they have a good future and I suspect that a vast treasure of people in their 70s—the "kids" who grew up preserving traditional values—are seeing their knowledge and skills wasted.

Writers like myself have a special advantage as we can work our trade well into our senior years. The age barrier, however, is very real and I suspect that many very capable seniors like my friend are encountering hardships despite being 70 and savvy.

1 comment:

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Does that mean 50 is about the new 35 then? When I was a child, a woman of 50 was regarded as old and a woman over 30 went about in awful, draped dresses caught with a brooch just below the waist. But look at us now! The thing is, as my Dad used to say, "you don't feel different emotionally" and we don't believe that when young!