The new 40-something publisher of the *Washington Post* recently appointed a new 40-something editor of the newspaper, broadcasting to media watchers and Washington movers and shakers alike that change is, decidedly, on the Pulitzer prize-winning organization’s menu.
Change would be a good thing for the business of most newspapers; they seem to be scrambling to justify their very existence -- both financially and journalistically -- in today’s crowded multi-media environment.
But I had to ask myself: Why is it that 40-somethings are perceived to be more likely to effect change than 50- or 60-somethings? I have to wonder if this is spillover from the Obama Effect – the proven ability of a fresh, young face to inspire hope that he can deliver on his promise to a country hungry for change. Or maybe just a new form of peer pressure, as in, if the next most likely President of the United States is 40-something, everyone else in charge of anything else that is important should be, too. Maybe they think they’re the only ones who can “get it.”
I must admit this feels like a slap in the face to a generation that once wouldn’t trust anyone over 30. I find myself taking offense at the fact that the other, more established 50- and 60-something candidates for the *Washington Post* job were passed over. This little tidbit of news about newspaper management is making me feel old. And marginalized. It’s not a good feeling.
It’s natural, of course, for the Old Guard to move on and be replaced by younger folks in virtually every work place except perhaps Buckingham Palace (alas, poor Prince Charles!). I truly can’t remember *ever* identifying with the Old Guard in any context, however, which makes it doubly hard to have someone suggest my turn is over. Hence the battle cry: But we’re not done yet! Hence, as well, I think, the importance of re-inventing ourselves at ages 50 and 60, redefining our usefulness and contributions, and establishing new ways of being creative and productive and yes, embracers -- if not agents -- of change.
Perhaps you’re ready to step aside. But I’m not. That’s probably why I am writing for *The Third Third* and it is an online journal and blog. I am still practicing my craft – journalism – at the same time I am practicing embracing change – www.Thethirdthird.com is new media.
So what about you? Are you feeling old, tired, marginalized? Are you the victim of out-of-touch-with-reality ageism? Or have you found new fields to plow, new careers to launch, new work to do? Have you found purpose and meaning? Have you done something to change the cultural perception of people our age, something that proclaims in no uncertain terms that we aren’t done yet!?
Please share your stories here.
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