Let me say this right up front: I happen to think labels are mainly good—and necessary. After all, we need labels to communicate effectively and to maintain societal order.
They help us make sense of our world.
If I write the word “toaster,” for example, then you would know that I’m talking about a small electrical appliance that browns bagels, bread, pop tarts, and those awful frozen waffles that really should be banned. Okay, we may not agree that frozen waffles should be banned, but hopefully we do agree about the toaster.
Often labels elicit strong feelings, and sometimes labels can hurt.
Like yesterday. My local movie theater has officially labeled me a “senior.” Just barely, but a senior nonetheless. The good news is that I saved $1.50 on the matinee. The bad news is that I cried throughout most of the movie.
I do not feel, act, or (I hope!) look like a senior, but I am fast approaching the age when people will view me as just that very label. My hope is that we can come up with something that has a better ring to it than “senior citizen.”
What about “seasoned adult”? “Mature person”? “Older adult”? I’d take any of those choices in a heartbeat. Boomers want, no, we demand a new name for our generation as we age, because the current one—senior citizen—just isn’t cutting it.
Any ideas you’d like to share?