Over the holiday I saw Skyfall, the new James Bond movie and found that beyond the pleasure I derived from the rooftop chase scenes, the movie made me think about aging. Bond and his handler M are accused of being washed up old spies when the CIA is cyber-infiltrated and several colleagues are uncovered. So while the movie's story line was contemporary Bond with a big dollop of good versus evil, the underlying theme of how one is valued as they age ran throughout the film.
We midlifers are frequently reminded that the world is changing and that a New Normal is setting up. Not only will the world look different as large portions of the American population become both browner and older. But we will make friends and get our information about each other often from each other as only twitter devotees can attest. You can hear and feel change coming in the way people write and talk about what's new in the world and maybe moreso by what no longer shocks them. And you can see that more convergence will be needed by the blank stares young people give when they are asked to work with anyone over 35.
I have Google alerts for the word "midlife." Everyday (I promise I am not exaggerating) there are stories on the internet either about a woman (or an ape ) suffering from a midlife crisis; or these midlife alerts lead me to stories written by midlifers about their past. Well no wonder no one young wants to be around us. There is always a lot of looking backward, reminiscing about the the good old days in these midlife stories. But is it possible that better days are ahead of us?
This perception that most midlifers are stuck in the past is real. Youth culture is driving innovation. But I don't think this is to the exclusion of others. Cultural pundits would have us believe that but for the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world, there would be no progress. I think it is important to remember that Zuckerberg built on an idea that came before him. So without taking anything away from his genius and agreeing that innovation is driving change, my question is what place does that leave for those of us who are aging?
When the Bond movie ends, the viewer must still answer the question of whether the old can survive in the face of innovation and the new? I won't ruin the movie for you. But I really think that since the young are building on what has come before them, why throw away what works. We have to find a way to infuse innovation with the best of what is old. Something tells me this is my evolving definition of the NEW Normal.
Tell me, do you believe your best years are behind you and why or why not?
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