All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players, They have their exits and entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.
The great man is not the origin of the idea that human life can be partitioned into phases. He’s the one who captured the idea in the best poetic of language.
It was an on the sofa conversation that brought my attention to the “Viewpoint” in the Radio Times. That tells something of my stage in life. Who reads the Radio Times anyway? I don’t as a habit. On this occasion Sue pointed out a short article by Charlie Higson titled: “Old people don’t feel old”.
I think he hit the nail on the head with that one. The COVID pandemic has brought out the worst in parts of the British media. It’s as if anyone over the age of 60 lives in their slippers, is bent double and hardly ever goes out of the house. Call it ageism if you like. It’s all over the place.
Yes, I do watch shows about gardening, so the stereotypes are not entirely without foundation. But just as Charlie says, the notion that people of my age are computer illiterate or never used an App in their lives is downright insulting. After all, for good or ill, we are the generation who invented the digital era. The silicon revolution happened on our watch.
It’s true that I often see other mature people acting as grown-ups. Off the peg at M&S and quoted saying sensible and wise utterances. But I’m convinced that some of that’s a front. Carved to confuse younger people to give them the impression of the possession of superior knowledge.
I have real difficulty in thinking of myself as over 60. I guess, it’s a stubborn rejection of the images of the over 60s that I had in my head 40 years ago. The world has changed beyond recognition in that time. The kind of jobs people do, their expectations and what was considered “normal”.
Next time, I see an advert for retirement flats where the eligibility is for the over 60s, I will speedily pass by in abhorrence. You will not catch me anywhere near such a place until my 90s.
So, stop it British media. Stop putting us in the later stages of our seven ages before our time.
*Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man