Wednesday, February 19, 2014


It is better to look good than to feel good….and can I tell you something? You look maaarvelous!!

So said Billy Crystal in his Fernando Llamas persona.

And guess what? It’s become the mantra for aging boomers as well. We don’t mind taking the senior discount at the car rental counter or the museum ticket box office, we just don’t want to look like we’re seniors. We want to look maaarvelous!

The nicest thing waitstaff can say (and the smartest if they want a big tip) is “you don’t look like a senior.” No we don’t. And that’s because we’re spending night and day (plus a lot of dollars) doing whatever it takes to look younger.

We exercise, dye the hair, get dermabrasions (ouch, ouch), replace knees, sign up for brain training programs, get lasik eye surgery, eat healthier, try hormone replacement, take yoga classes, and meditate. We jump on every new social media app, as though being connected with younger users will make us feel younger (it doesn’t). Whatever it takes – sign us up.

In that respect, we’re nothing at all like our parents. They did not try to hold off the aging process. They accepted it gracefully, along with the gold watch and the shuffleboard court. Very few of them fought the good fight. Hair went gray and stayed that way. The beer bellies sagged and no one cared much about trying to arrest their failing health. It was all part of the inevitable march toward the end game of life.

Well boomers are having none of it. It’s just not good enough to age well, we insist on a full-court push-back of the aging process. The good news for our economy is that an entire anti-aging industry has sprung up to cater to baby boomers. Some of them are scammers and some can actually do us harm, but there are plenty of entrepreneurs who want to help us fight off old age.

Once again, the boomer generation is in the vanguard of a movement to change our notion of aging. Whether it’s remaining sexually active well into the 80s or continuing to work well beyond the conventional age for retirement, we are determined to redefine what it means to grow older.

Can I tell you something? We look maaarvelous! And you know who you are!

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.