Widgets for Sale

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: LeeGaleGruen.com

Now, on to my blog:

Sale SignsCommerce has one goal–to sell its product. That is what advertising is all about. Unfortunately, it will use any means to make that goal a reality, including propaganda and appeals to our insecurities. The latter sends the message: be dissatisfied with what you are so you will buy my widget to fix it.

Let’s take for example the pathological focus on being young. There are huge amounts of advertising and products devoted to that end.

Someone sitting in a back room thinking about how to maximize profits figured out that aging is as inevitable as those old standbys: death and taxes, and it provides a steady, growing market. So, if youth is peddled to older folks as a must-have, then those in the “youth-business” can hawk their products to drive that dream. First they must create the idea that being young is the ideal and being old is bad: we are not attractive, desirable, or worthy unless we look young, dress young, and act young, emulating the models in the ads that they bombard us with all our waking hours. Their subliminal message: my widget will set you on the road to the Fountain of Youth which is the key to happiness, and it only costs $$$.

It’s our own fault that we buy into this scam and blindly accept an artificially created  reverence to youth which we feel we must chase at all costs. Do we even question such a postulate which is constantly being crammed down our collective gullets? Do we even ask ourselves, What’s so wonderful about being young? When is it okay to be okay about myself?

In a recent interview, 82-year-old actress Jane Fonda discussed her insecurities and admitted that self-acceptance has been difficult for her to this day. She claims that she has now sworn off cosmetic surgery which has been a part of her life for many years. How can a beautiful, successful, accomplished actress have such negative feelings about herself?

I remember my youth and especially my teenage years as a time of my life that was fraught with self-doubt, insecurity, and discontentment. True happiness and gratification have slowly crept up and grabbed me as I’ve aged. I can now look back at my “youth” and wave a fond farewell to a difficult chunk of time.

One of my blog readers emailed me some lines from a poem by the 14th century, Persian poet Hafez which should be savored like a cozy robe: “The way-station of old age is one to pass cleanly. Don’t let the urgencies of youth stain the whiteness of your hair.”

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Photo credit: timparkinson on Visualhunt / CC BY

4 Comments

Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging

4 responses to “Widgets for Sale

  1. Patricia Spiegel

    Good one, as usual. I recall being at a fancy party long ago where the drinking was heavy. A cosmetic company high level executive said to the small knot of us standing around, “We are brining out mink oil for older women and it will sell at a very high price. In fact is minks are greasy little critters and we get paid for taking away their carcasses. Big win-win.” He laughed. Yeah…

  2. Yuck! I’ll tell ya, with the right packaging, you could sell ice to an Eskimo.

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