There are so many problems with this article in The Atlantic. So many.
“As we pass our prime, it is with a growing awareness that younger people coming after us haven’t yet reached their peak. Those who can’t bear the shift to a supporting role may become increasingly narcissistic in the unhealthy sense of the word.”
Actually, I’m pretty sure the author is already narcissistic.
The article starts out by lamenting that as they reach middle-age, people don’t ogle them anymore. Their lack of youthfulness means a lack of expressed sexual interest. It continues by lamenting that the news focuses on younger people. And then points out that as their children age, focus shifts to the child’s accomplishments (gradations, weddings) rather than their own.
Not getting catcalled and throwing parties for other people (like, your own fucking kids) shouldn’t cause an identity crisis. I wonder if the author is aware that 364 days of the year, other people have birthdays too? And sometimes they throw parties for those birthdays?/
It goes on to claim that older workers also aren’t valued.
“At the same time, rapid technological innovation often renders an older person’s skill set obsolete—they no longer have something useful to teach. The Internet has also reduced the social value older people once held by virtue of their accumulated knowledge: who needs to ask an old person a question when you can find the answer yourself within seconds on Wikipedia?”
Which is totally why the average age for a Fortune 500 CEO is 55.
The article ends on a question:
“But what if the young conclude that we have nothing of value to offer?”
And that’s fundamentally the problem. These people desperately want approval from the younger generation. They want to be reassured that they are cool. A better question would be to ask “Why do I care so much about how I am perceived by kids these days?”
Does society inflate the value of youth? Absolutely. Are there real age-related problems, such as older unemployed workers having trouble finding work? Of course.
But if you can’t grow into middle age without becoming resentful that other people (like, your own kids) are going to accomplish stuff, then the problem doesn’t lie with middle age. It lies with you.
Throw yourself a birthday party and get over it.