Multigenerational Pain Point: Is it Age - or Relevance?

Talk and anguish about age and ageism at almost any age seems to be skyrocketing, whether the suffering is externally influenced or self-inflicted. Baby Boomers (and the even older Traditionalists) may think it’s only them that endures the slings and arrows, but a glance at the media, even mainstream major media, indicates that is wrong. 

As just one example, check out the New York Times front page Sunday Business article (3/10/19): In the Digital World, Midlife Crisis Can Hit at 30.” A 58-year-old longtime hospitality entrepreneur and Airbnb alum, Chip Conley, thinks he has hit on the next big thing with a resort (and plans for scaling it) called Modern Elder Academy in Mexico. When he announced it, he expected the potential guests/customers to be mostly the 50s demographic. Instead, the nine groups so far turned out to range from age 30 to 74, mixed gender groups worrying about feeling irrelevant or anticipating that soon. The guests are not drawn just from Silicon Valley industry types. Complaints about feeling lonely at 40 when their colleagues are 30 or younger were common among the Academy guests, who had to apply for a space and pay $5,000 for a week’s tuition, room and board. 

Even some of the Millennials say they are feeling older and concerned about their relevance with the entrance of Gen Zers, the real “digital natives” at work. Many guests at the Academy rounded up their age to the next milestone rather than rounding down when asked their age. Conley’s idea is to make them all feel better about themselves by talking about aging and purging the negative connotations in their heads to see the value of age. 

To this “cross-generational Boomer,” (my self-label), the first thought I had about the above mindsets reported at the Academy early in the week is “sad!”  But I’ve been speaking and writing about relevance for some time now. One of the chapters in my book, “You Can’t Google it!” is titled “Relevance and Confidence” and includes research on generational studies in the U.S. and other countries reporting that a large percentage of people in their 40s and older are worried about being irrelevant. They are seeking out new skills and continual learning to stay in the game. And I hear the relevance issue cropping up frequently in my talks and facilitated cross-generational workshops. 

My reaction to the age range of Modern Elder Academy guests is, “If ever there was a call for “collaborageism” (the joining together of all generations to eliminate ageism against people of any age – stigmas, stereotypes, erroneous assumptions and adverse economic impact) … 

Maybe this is a new iteration of the 1970s new age philosophies, but it appears different. It seems to be more about seeking ongoing relevance and purpose at any age/generation.

I am evolving my cross-generational generations work toward four solutions which I will be elaborating in future articles and talks. I call them:

Collaborageism tm
Authentic Age
Legacy-Makers at Work Masterminds and
The Cross-Generational Conversation forums (and Days) I have been leading for several years.\

If this has piqued your interest, contact me to be one of the first to learn more. At, through or through LinkedIn. I look forward to hearing from you!

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