It’s a youth culture we live in. This I know. But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are people living to be 80, 90, even past a century old nowadays. And for that reason Jay-Z’s “40 is the new 30” seems to ring so true. Old is not what old used to be because people are living longer and living better as their carry on for a greater number of years.
At least that’s what I assumed and thought. Lately, however, I’ve been noticing a pushback around 30 and 40-somethings, a judgment about how very advanced that is—and how far from young.
For instance, I’m the same age as tennis greats Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Keep in mind both players are at the top of their games. They’ve been pros for years and years and won Grand Slam titles up the wazoo. They’re also still winning and topping peers like crazy.
However, what’s the press about them centered on? Their age.
Can Roger win another Slam?
He’s getting up there in age—can he hang?
How many more years does he have?
When will Serena retire?
You’d think both of them were lugging wheelchairs around the court, not a mere one-third of the way through their lives.
It’s maddening to say the least, disrespectful given their accomplishments (past, present and ongoing), and it’s sending a message that life only gets worse after 30. Certainly not better.
In the words of Michelle from “Full House,” pu-leease.
Similarly, the message constantly—and suddenly—seems to be that 30 and above is getting up there in the worlds of dating, marriage and kids.
Exhibit A – My Pandora station. I’m not sure how or why but the ads lately between songs are all about egg donation. Apparently the Pandora gods think that I need a nudge, as I listen to Sublime or Beck, that my childbearing years are coming to an end. The ads tell me to freeze my eggs. They tell me this over and over each time I get a music break. Let’s just say I get the point and I don’t appreciate it. Why has Pandora decided that soon I’ll be past my prime.
Exhibit B – The Bravo show “The Single Life.” If you’ve never seen this new reality show it’s an exploration of New York City dating. And, more uniquely, it all unfolds in real time. What that means is that the daters mingle, get drinks and dine. As they do the audience watches and weighs in a mere days after the events happen. One single woman featured on the show in last week’s episode revealed that she has been lying about her age. To the men she’s dated and to the public at large she’s been 34. In actuality, the woman is 41.
To be in her 40s and unmarried in New York terrified her. She felt that she had to hide the truth.
This, more than anything, saddens me.
Over the past three years, while entering my 30s, I feel more alive, more myself and like more of a catch than I ever did in my 20s. How dare anyone try to imply that reaching 30 or 40 is anything but a continuation of youth.