Three of us were having lunch at the Red Lion following a Saturday morning rehearsal of the BSO in the Tanglewood Music Shed in western Massachusetts. It was a warm, sunny afternoon in July, so we ate outdoors in the patio. Our trio ranges in age between 65 and 72, and can often be overheard discussing matters of aging. Claudius, my brother-in-law, recited the adage that when young we possess time and energy, but no money. During middle-age, we have money and energy, but no time. In later years, we have time and money, but little energy. These are generalizations of course, and are mostly relevant in economically developed societies. But things seem to be changing. My wife Mary pointed out that those of us age 65 or older, often referred to as aging or elderly, are leading lifestyles quite differently from our parents. As part of the post-war boomer culture, our generation has found ways to combine ‘time, money, and energy’ in accordance with a longer life-expectancy. More ‘Elders’ are working longer, are healthier, more involved in society, and more athletic and vibrant, than anytime in history. Not everyone has been able to take advantage of this change, of course. But walking along the streets of any modern city today we see an ‘older’ population taking part in cultural activities that involve every aspect of contemporary life. After some discussion, we found we were in need of naming and describing this new and evolving subculture, of providing it with a cultural identity. After several tries, I suggested the name ‘Neogenerians (The New Old)’. By the end of lunch, we had agreed, and called for the check.
A Collection of Writings on Nature, Science, and Art by John Holland