It began with the dreaded “e” word. Elderly. The word none of us wants to be, ever. I was talking to a potential client about their senior citizen program (you know, the one that delivers meals to old people), and their tagline included the word “elderly.” I asked how they defined elderly, and she told me sixty and above. Sixty.
As in one year older than Steve.
That can’t possibly be right. And as I thought about it, I realized that very few people view themselves as elderly. I asked my parents, who are in their early eighties, and have three canes between them (and refer to themselves as “the cane gang”), if they thought they were elderly.
Not a chance. They are older, and on some days even old…but not elderly.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Clearly we need some better words for those of us who are post-youthful and pre-elderly. As much as I am looking forward to my senior discount at the movie theater, I am not excited about being a senior. I am ok with boomer, a little conflicted with empty nester, and not sure midlifer is actually true (unless I live to 114). I understand the Silver Tsunami isn’t about our parents, it’s about us (which doesn’t make me like it any better). I am a realist, but I’d like an alternate reality for the time being.
I’ve been considering other words. Vintage. Seasoned. Wiser. Elder. Ripe. Aging. Mature. Gray. Autumnal. Golden.
None of them work, do they?
I am not trying to replace elderly (that will come another day), but describing where I am right now.
And then it came to me.
My favorite design period, generally from 1933-1965, best known for the 50’s and early 60’s. Clean, comfortable, with purpose. Simple, organic, vibrant, and efficient. Stylish and intentional. Functional and delightful. Enduring.
I am not old, I am mid-century modern. I like the sound of that, don’t you?
I know mid-century modern, with six syllables, is harder to say than boomer, with just two. So let’s settle on MCMs…or better yet–MODs.
And if you follow this logic, then today’s elderly demographic would be the Decos. Which isn’t so bad…but it may need some work.
In the meantime, I am sticking with my MCM theme. Perhaps it will inspire me to spring for matching Eames loungers (in cream leather and walnut, please), and a George Nelson clock. That might be a fine trade off for being a MOD.
P.S. Inspired by two of my favorite MCMers…Kevin and Chip.