The New Age of Not-So-Old Age

by Kerry Cue

Sacha Nauta (The New Age of Longevity, The Economist, 6 JUL 2017) commented that the aging population should be seen as a boon not some Doomsday scenario for the economy. While increasing numbers of 60-plus population still work, even if part-time, the stereotype of the retiree has not shifted since Simone De Beavoir’s day. Retirees were either sponging off society or of no use to it.

Nauta claims that a new definition for the 60-plus age group is long over due. Childhood, she explained, was reclaimed in the 18OOs. (The 1833 Factory Act, UK, banned children under 9 years of age from working.) Teenagers did not exist by name until the 1940s. In 1944 Life magazine insisted that teen-agers made up ‘a big and special market’.

So now it is time to rename and reclaim the 60-plus years. Nauta suggests NYPPIES (Not Yet Past It) or OWLS (Older, Working Less, Still earning). Whatever name eventually gets taken up by the culture, let’s make it positive, a name that makes growing old look ‘cool’ to the young.

I suggest ROCrRs. (Really Old. Can Really Rock.)

Don’t call me ‘Grandma’

by Kerry Cue

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 purple quote 1   “The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy.”purple quote 2

……………………… Sam Levenson, American Humourist, 1911-1980

Sibylesque Signature purple

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Baby Boomers Find the ‘Grandma’ Tag Doesn’t Fit

Baby Boomers, apparently, are terrified of being labelled ‘old’. We’re in denial and we refuse to be called grandma. Susan Sarandon (b. 1946), for instance, wants to be called ‘Honey’.

Susan Sarandon B&W

This is not a straightforward issue. Firstly, today a kid can have 4 grandmas, 2 biological grannies and 2 step-grandmamas. Who gets the naming rights? Often, it is first in, first served. So the first-time-grandma may be  competing with an established  grandma-of-3. To avoid the granny wars, she has to find another name.

If both grandmothers opt for the same ‘nanna’ tag, the kid will soon sort you out. I know a little tyke who called his nannas ‘Chippie Nanna’ and ‘Chocie Nanna’. Obviously, they specialised in crisps and chocolate.

May Procession c 1950s Communigate UK

May Procession c 1950s  UK


Secondly, women of my generation have fought to be recognised as individuals. Otherwise, our entire identity is dished out as  stereotypes: girlfriend, fiancee, wife, mother, grandmother…. Are we expected to revert to a generic brand name in our senior years?

Some will be happy with this option but some won’t. I’m one and I’m not even a grandmother. Our grandmothers, much like my grandma and nanna, were stern, hat-wearing, church-going matrons (see left), who often tut-tutted at, well, every fun thing that happened at family gatherings. I don’t care about being a grandmother, but the name would feel like a millstone around my aging-neck.

What are the options?

Nan: My friend Nan says she’s just growing into her own name!!

Mimi: Kim, called Kimmie by the family, said ‘Let the child decide’. He started calling  her ‘Mimi’. She loves it.

Lola: Surprisingly, ‘lola’ is grandma in Filipino (Tagalog). ‘Lolo’ is grandpa. My nephew married the gorgeous, Regina, who is Filipino. His mum gets called ‘Lola Liz’. Now that sounds like a grandma, who is having a damn good time!

Any other suggestions?

The 1950’s photograph came from an unattributed source. More information is welcome.