Aging and change


It is said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and it’s likely true that old dogs would just as soon stick with their old tricks than acquire new ones. The same holds true for people, as most people prefer things to remain relatively the same, rather than change. I recently noted my own resistance to change as the deodorant I had been using since my teens has started getting harder to find and the brand of toothpaste I use is constantly being renewed and improved.

My attitude is that I’ve been using these products for 40 years and have displayed incredible brand loyalty and now the brand is attempting to bamboozle me by becoming “new” and “improved”.

Consumer research centered on the 50+ crowd has shown that an astonishing 57% of that market sticks to only one brand of over the counter drugs, while nearly half adhere to one brand of personal care products. So when the products that the over 50-cohort use are discontinued or change, it presents a dilemma that isn’t easily resolved.

More complex, but equally disturbing are the societal changes with which we are faced as we age. Baby boomers in particular are now getting payback for the revolutionary changes they advocated in their youth. In the 60s and 70s concepts such as same-sex marriage just weren’t on the horizon, much less on the table. But today they have become an accepted part of the mainstream and more matrimonial changes are just around the corner. Polygamy and group marriage is in the wings and waiting to join the mainstream.

While the music of the 50s, 60s and 70s was largely about romantic love, today’s popular music is angry, insistent and in your face and romantic love appears to be one of those quaint concepts, like a horse-drawn sleigh.

Change is the way of the world and resistance to change is a normal part of aging that serves to validate our worldview. But resisting all change on principle is foolish, as even the stodgiest of us will surely admit. Few people will cling to an old way of doing things if they are shown a better way. And since the world is ever changing, accepting that change is a good thing.

Many of us wonder whether the changes we are seeing today are progressive or regressive. I often see my own parents’ reactions to me when confronted with some of my children’s ideas. But then I realize that in the broad scheme of things I turned out okay, as did my children. The biggest problem about being able to accept world changes is to be at peace with the idea that they will ultimately turn out well.

Written by Klaus Rohrich on Saturday, 20 March 2010

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Aging and Change