I frequently feel like a pioneer on the vanguard of this weird thing called “aging.” The existing language and assumptions around this life stage simply don’t fit how I feel or how I see the world and my place in it.
To quote Ageist (one of my favorite websites):
Unlike other life stages, there isn’t anything out there in the way of templates or substantial role models.
So, you can imagine my happiness at discovering groups of like-minded creatives, scientists, and businesses all intent on rebranding this age category and changing existing perceptions of this life stage.
And, by the way, this is not about making one life stage preferable to another: youth will never lose its allure but “Late Style” is catching on.
Read on below for more about how the social constructs around life stages and aging are giving way to a new reality.
ARTISTS LEADING THE WAY
Artists, aged 60-plus, have definitely been in the spotlight lately. As I write this, Yayoi Kusama is having another major show at all of the Zwirner Galleries in NYC – and the lines are ridiculous!
At age 88, Kusama has become the most instagrammable artist in the world. Her show at the Hirschorn Museum in DC (now traveling the country) was a stunner – thousands of us stood in line for 4-5 hours for an opportunity to see and experience her world.
Turner Prize: Artists over 50 once again eligible
For the first time since 1991, artists over 50 are eligible to enter, a welcome reminder that, when it comes to art, innovation and potential are not merely the preserve of younger generations.
Other notable old “not old” artists who have been in the spotlight lately:
- Richard Pettibone – age 79
- Jim Shaw – age 65
- Marilyn Minter – age 69
- Cindy Sherman – age 63
- Marina Abromovic – age 70
- Jimmie Durham – age 77 (currently has major retrospective at The Whitney)
Ageist was launched 2 years ago but I only recently discovered it and I LOVE it. If this topic is of interest – either personally or professionally – sign up for their weekly newsletter, it’s fabulous!
Here’s how they describe themselves:
- All aspects of how later life is lived are changing, and AGEIST has positioned itself to better understand these changes to help our partners and clients get ahead of the curve.
- Over the last 2 years we have been seeking out, interviewing and photographing people over the age of 50 who are leading lives that point to a new way of doing things. We have amassed hundreds of hours of ethnographies and interviews in the largest ongoing study of its kind that we know of anywhere in the world.
- What we wanted to know: if we reject all of the cliches, the stereotypes and the stock photography that accompanies it, what is the experience of living life over the age of 50 really like? How wrong do brands and media really get it?
- It’s apparent that we need a new language and visual direction for our mission and audience.
- Welcome to the new reality of an emerging generation.
- The first AGEIST Live Event is scheduled for February 2018 in LA.
(And I plan to be there if at all possible!)
SUPER-AGERS: (Source: Business Insider)
Scientists are fascinated by a rare group of people known as super-agers — people over age 80 who retain cognitive abilities similar to people in their 50s.
- Scientists found super-agers tended to have significantly more satisfying, high-quality relationships than their normal peers.
STATS/INFO (Source: The Economist)
Life stages are primarily social constructs. Words like “old” and “retired” signal how people ought to behave and be treated by governments, businesses and employers.
- As life becomes longer, the word “retirement”, which literally means withdrawal to a place of seclusion, has become misleading
- Ageing is a gradual process, which people experience in different ways.
- While some may feel old at 65, nowadays most do not.
- Acknowledging that there is a new stage of life between full-time work and old age would help everyone make the most of longer life spans.