January 3, 2011

"Are you over 50 and enjoying life? Then you may well be a mappie."

"The acronym stands for Mature, Affluent, Pioneering People and has been coined to describe a growing social group of active, fun-loving fifty- and sixty-somethings."

Oh, lord, must there be a cute name for everything? I say that on Day 9 of my countdown to age 60.

The truth is, it's surprisingly good to be old — if you don't mind that closer-to-death part. But no one knows how many days are left. Are you alive and paying attention and not suffering too much today? Then this is a good day you have as a human being. Are you richer today with more lived days behind you or with the odds of more days ahead? You can't be in the future days any more than you can be in the past days. The past days can be remembered. The future days are unknown, even in number.

54 comments:

SteveR said...

Well I'm over 50 but still have kids at home and in college, so its not that different than the 40's.

Its is good to be over the "closer to death" thing though.

shoutingthomas said...

Good God! The article singles out Susan Sarandon, perhaps the most annoying leftie jerk of our generation. Tough choice among all the candidates.

Seeing life after 50 as something worth living is not a new thing. Magazines and websites need to constantly be trumpeting new things.

My great artistic heroes, like Henry Miller and Muddy Waters, produced their best work when they were old men. At least, I think so. So, too, did Louis Armstrong.

People generally know Miller for Tropic of Cancer. Read Book of Friends, written when he was an old man. The first time I saw Muddy Waters play, he was well into his 60s and he was a master precisely because he was an old, wise man. What do you want from a bluesman? Louis Armstrong only got better as he got older.

I knew when I was a young man that old age had its compensations. I've always looked forward to being an old man with grandchildren.

Do I enjoy life more? The losses are hard to take. The loss of my wife was almost a crippling blow. By necessity, I've developed a sense of humor about the inevitability of loss and death. I'm garrulous and I make friends easily, which helps. And, I appreciate little things a lot more than I did when I was young.

Walking through the Village in the morning on the way to my job is a thrill.

Pogo said...

"Are you over 50 and annoyed at life? Then you may well be a crappie."

Cranky Rude Assholes, Peevish and Petulant.

Coined to describe a growing social group of crotchety gasbag loners over 50.

Or you're a type of small fish.

sonicfrog said...

That, and having to have an acronym for EVERYTHING!

Erectile dysfunction = ED
Attention Deficit Disorder = ADD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder = OCD

and, my current favorite, suddenly being featured on commercials:

Low Testosterone... or Low T.

Jeez, they can't even get that one right!

OMG!!!!

Coketown said...

Mappies only exist in Boniva commercials, flyfishing next to Sally Field. It's a term developed (apparently in Sweden) for marketing firms to target that group of dopey old women who have outgrown tampon commercials.

PR firms are anxious to push this "60 is the new 40" notion because in a couple years the retired generation will be the only ones with disposable income, while the rest of labor under high taxes and regulations. But no number of stupid acronyms can change the fact that after 40, every year is an incremental step toward that gray, wiry, saggy vagina people always have nightmares about. Mappies fear this impending vaginal state. Non-mappies--that is, regular people not prone to marketing indoctrination--happily embrace old age. Eventually, we'll all be Puddies--pushing up daisies.

Meade said...

Why is it a "countdown?" Shouldn't it be a "count UP?"

I may well be a mappie but in about an hour or two I'm going to feel like a nappie.

wv: cuitidis - the disease of cuiteness.

Greg Hlatky said...

"Youth is a kind of infirmity." - James Gould Cozzens

ricpic said...

Affluence is overrated.

Scott M said...

Oh, lord, must there be a cute name for everything?

Only if you're a Boomer. They seem to require it for everything and passed it along to us, more's the pity :)

In all seriousness, I would love to be in my fifties or sixties right now. With as much uncertainty (certainly the highest in my adult recollection) as there is in our society/civilization, it provides my life with great angst about my young children. If I were in my fifties/sixties, they would all be old enough to provide defilade or covering fire once the SHTF (emp, complete economic collapse, zombies...take your pick).

Palladian said...

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

JAL said...

It's all marketing.

My parents spent thirty years driving across the United States of America, coast to coast every year for thirty years before they finally stopped in 1995 (Dad was 85.) They were mature, on Social Security (low end plus a $120/mo pension), smart, very handy (could fix the car by the side of the road if they had to in most cases. And did.)

They had fun, friends on the way, and liked each other.

They didn't need no mappie acronym to give them an identity.

The only mappie they knew was the Rand McNally Road Atlas which got them around.

wv cytem
I'll cytem as an example.

AJ Lynch said...

I have said this before but Viagra should have been named Boniva. Would have made writing the commercials way easier.

Scott M said...

Viva Boniva doesn't have quite the same ring though.

shoutingthomas said...

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


Well, yes, that was true for MacBeth, because he was a fool and a murderer.

Evil destroyed him.

Palladian said...

Manure, Effluent

Palladian said...

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

MadisonMan said...

I'm over 50 (barely) and enjoying life, but I don't care to be grouped in with a bunch of others.

former law student said...

Is Meade prepared to be married to a sexagenarian?

Meade said...

I thought she already was.

Ah Pooh said...

When I was young I took a university course entitled "Death, Dying and Lethal Behaviour" (offered in the 1960s naturally). One of our assignments was to write a detailed obituary. Over the years I have found this to be a helpful guide to action. I have encouraged our grandchildren to do the same.

Lucien said...

Oh great. NOW what am I going to call obnoxious amateur cartography enthusiasts?

roesch-voltaire said...

from Max Apple about the style of middle age: "The style of middle age is a style of reappraisal, a style characterized by hesitation,by uncertainty, by the objects of the world rather than the passions that transport us from this world." ah yes counting the little things.

c3 said...

Sonic;
That, and having to have an acronym for EVERYTHING!

Erectile dysfunction = ED
Attention Deficit Disorder = ADD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder = OCD

and, my current favorite, suddenly being featured on commercials:

Low Testosterone... or Low T.


If you can name it, consumers can demand it. If consumers can demand it, docs can prescribe for it. If docs can prescribe for it insurance can pay for it. If insurance can pay for it then pharma can profit.

If any of these "if"s aren't true then the answer is:

DEAL WITH IT!!

tim maguire said...

There's no end to the stupid things marketers will try to foist on us. (Who was it who observed that marketers will try to make you feel bad about yourself as a human being in order to sell you a pen?)

We'd be helpless against the onslaught except that we possess the greatest weapon imaginable--we can ignore them.

traditionalguy said...

The only trouble with the past is that there is so much of it to remember. Traditions can come in very handy when trying to understand the past. Studying the middle ages is enlightening, and those guys did not have electricity and all that means. Of course we won't either if our coal, oil and gas are cut off as we are ordered to await a gust of wind. The wind mills in England this winter have been motionless during the coldest weather ever seen in England.Oops.

Robert said...

Ann is actually a Blappie, which is a blogging, affluent, pioneering person.

traditionalguy said...

The advertisements today are all for wrinkle creams and male erectile deficiency pills. The Baby Boomers are needing things to distract them from the ravages of aging. I suggest Cruises and golf. It works for me.

Smilin' Jack said...


Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

t-man said...

We must put a stop to this right now. The Baby Boomers ignore the past and view each step of their lives as something that they, uniquely can appreciate.

Don't Trust Anyone Over 30
Baby on Board
Yuppiedom
Redefining Menopause
Old Age is Great!

Next up - Redefining Death!!!!

peter hoh said...

I was going to try to come up with an acronym for Nice Older People who Eschew Acronyms, AARP membership, and Advanced Care Directives, but I think I'll take a nap instead.

Michael said...

I am so tired of the baby boomers and their anxieties.

Speaking of advertising and age, a psychiatrist who has written a number of books on the great boom in pharmacology and psychiatry, gave a very interesting lecture one time on marketing of antidepressants. This is a huge industry. He showed slides of antidepressant advertising in women's magazines. In the early days, the ads depicted depressed women with sad expressions and posture that was typical of depression.

He showed slides of the same ads over the years. The PR people figured out that advertising showing depression was less effective than ads showing happy women who had used the product. Eventually the ads began to show younger and younger women with a posture of eagerness and sometimes athletic activity. These ads sold more pills. Look at the ads in those magazines or on TV now.

I am in my 70s, still working a bit and enjoying life.

edutcher said...

Despite a few setbacks, The Blonde and I could be called mappies (everything has to be quantified, after all). Except for this year - and the tough times will end - we've had fun and we both passed 60 some years ago.

Ann Althouse said...

The truth is, it's surprisingly good to be old

There is something to be said for all that hard-won experience, but old is a frame of mind, as much as chronology.

Meade said...

Why is it a "countdown?" Shouldn't it be a "count UP?"

Exactly.

former law student said...

Is Meade prepared to be married to a sexagenarian?

Meade said...

I thought she already was.


If not now, she soon will be.

Penny said...

"If you can name it, consumers can demand it. If consumers can demand it, docs can prescribe for it. If docs can prescribe for it insurance can pay for it. If insurance can pay for it then pharma can profit."

Nice cadence to this, actually.

I wonder how much people will be willing to pay for their Sugar Pills...that work!

Penny said...

If Americans honestly believe that 30 is the new 18, and 40 the new 20, and 60 the new 40, it's no wonder we have a deficit problem.

Michael said...

Penny: There is much to be said for these catchy slogans to make people feel less old. Some of us have taken pretty good care of ourselves through the decades and thus are in better shape than many many people twenty or thirty years younger. The Michael posting above has five years on me but I am seriously enjoying this time of my life, including raising a teenager from a second marriage and staying very active in business.

William said...

I'm in my mid sixties. So far so good. I most enjoy sleeping late and eating greasy food. Sex and sports are doable but only with caution and prudence. In a few years I'll probably have to start rationing BBQ intake. Well, napping is pleasure and a hobby and an avocation that you can do all your days. From The Oven Bird by Robert Frost: "The bird would cease and be as other birds but that he knows in singing not to sing. The question that he frames in all but words is what to make of a diminished thing."

mistysbloggingkingdom122577 said...

You should enjoy life at every age for no one knows the number of days you'll have. I'm enjoying being in the over 50 crowd, reliving memories and making new ones all the time. Carpe diem.

AST said...

Surely we are witnessing the death throes of our narcissistic throne-sniffing news media.

carlbridges said...

Good words, Althouse. As one who will turn 60 only a few days after you do, I agree wholeheartedly. The kids are in their 30s with kids of their own; I've gone as far as I'll go in my profession; I have a good wife, reasonable health and a reasonable hope for the hereafter. The only possible improvement would be free nachos every day. I wish the equivalent for you and Meade.

sunsong said...

Are you alive and paying attention and not suffering too much today? Then this is a good day you have as a human being.

This is the kind of sentiment that inspires me now I'm over 50. Every day is a day to be grateful for and to try and keep in mind what really matters.

Increasing longevity is simply a fact these days. What will folks do with that? the idea of being *retired* for 30 or 40 years is absurd, imo. It only makes sense to be involved in some kind of meaningful work - even if there is no real need for money.

And happiness - it wasn't too long ago there was the study here about older people being happier. Hopefully, you get better at living life with practice :-) And happiness is one of the things that realy matters, imo.

cubanbob said...

ricpic said...
Affluence is overrated.

1/3/11 3:24 PM

No it ain't.

Almost Ali said...

I admire the stoicism of American Gothic - that the barn, somehow, still stands.

Kev said...

That, and having to have an acronym for EVERYTHING!

Erectile dysfunction = ED
Attention Deficit Disorder = ADD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder = OCD


Except if you really have OCD, you call it CDO--it's the same as OCD, but the letters are rearranged to be in alphabetical order.

(I didn't make that up, so please don't kill the messenger.)

traditionalguy said...

A great uncle always told us as kids, "If you have your health, you have everything". He was an optimist. But I now understand him. My Cardiac Doctor says that his job is fighting heart disease, but that no one has cured it yet.

bagoh20 said...

My simple advice to young people is: Pay attention to life - you don't want to miss it. It still applies after fifty.

sonicfrog said...

Kev... Or should that be KEV... Nice one.

And for that, I'm adding you blog to my blog-roll!

Penny said...

"Penny: There is much to be said for these catchy slogans to make people feel less old."

Michael, are we really talking about age here, or a zest for life?

One of my favorite expressions..."Call me old, but NEVER call me mature."

The Crack Emcee said...

Before the divorce/murders, I truly "lived life to the fullest". I bounded out of bed, ready to greet - no, assault - the day. People respected me and I took great care to pay attention to them and, as they say, "give something back". I took nothing for granted and looked forward to growing old, with my wife, with or without kids - it didn't matter, we were together.

Now, fuck the world and everyone in it. It's a place without love and I'm still the only truly passionate person in it - but now alone - so, since I don't like meeting lamers, bounding out of bed don't happen. I haven't aged that much, on the outside, but inside, I'm dying so fast it makes my head spin - I've lost three teeth since the divorce - and I simply don't care. I wish I wouldn't wake up, really, I really do.

I don't want to grow old in this world. I see nothing left to appreciate about it, but what I've lost, and it's gone so, so fucking what? Every day I leave the house and, it seems, I'm the only person wishing everyone a sincere good morning, but by the afternoon, I'm over it and would gladly mow everyone down merely for forgetting how little they give a damn. I can match their casual cruelty with the real shit any day.

My biggest loss is, of course, music. I have no one to play it for anymore, no one to impress, and without me it's awful, so I might as well be dead already. I'm useless without doing it, just marking time I don't care to spend, without a melody of any kind.

Call yourselves whatever you want, you old, affluent, over 50 whatevers. You've always had it good and you know it. You're just rubbing it in our faces now.

That's where your only true happiness lies.

It's funny to be saying this, in a conversation about growing/being old, but I was just thinking today that Americans have become teenage girls, all insecure preening and wondering who's looking at them as they do nothing of value but live their lives. (It was that post about food that got this line of thought going - imagine: feeling special about sitting down to stick shit in your mouth. How absurd.) With the advantages some of you were born with, I would be changing the world. Most people, though, don't seem capable of thinking past their own noses - and those that do are mostly con men - the rest are cowards, afraid of rejection or failure. How inspiring. I see you, little teenage girls, I see you. You're pretty. Pretty vacant.

I spent part of today dancing for a little white kid. Just to see him smile. It was the best I could do.

Considering everything, it was probably the best thing that was ever done.

Dick's Birdhouses and Thoughts said...

"...the road goes on forever, and the party never ends..."

This is the only way to view life. All the rest only makes you old.

Michael David Martin said...

Almost Ali: I believe the barn depicted in "American Gothic" (barely in view at center right) is not still standing. The house (the building in the background) is indeed still standing. Not too far from me, in Eldon, Iowa.

ajdiseker said...

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,--
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads,-- you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

- "Ulysses", Alfred, Lord Tennyson

JorgXMcKie said...

"Life is a banquet, and some poor suckers are starving." Auntie Mame

"I am so tired of the baby boomers and their anxieties."
And I am so tired of people talking about baby boomers as if they were all identical. As a leading edge Boomer, I know *lots* of Boomers. Practically none of them I know suffer much from "anxieties". Perhaps Michael might try not paying quite so much attention to the idiot MSM and hang out with some real Boomers?

Hucbald said...

I love being in my fifties. Many of the things I strove so hard to achieve I have now mastered, and unexpected joys still appear daily.

Doing something you love is vital (I'm a musician).

BJM said...

@ tim maguire

Exactly, the single most successful marketing image...one that continues to sell massive amounts of product is the gorgeous thick swirl of toothpaste perched atop a toothbrush. The proof is that 99% of consumers use 2-3 times the amount of toothpaste required.

btw- You can thank futurist Faith Popcorn (her real name) for marketing based on culture, wherein the culture itself becomes the brand and Walter Landor who took graphics and logos to the next level with cross market "branding" based on consumer research, for the targeted advertising we so enjoy today. /sarcasm