Most of the time I focus on the good things about aging. It leads co-workers to erroneously assume that I know what I’m doing, for example. And the wisdom of my years has recently allowed me to make the important changeover from wanting to get fit, to convincing myself I look fine.
I’ve never seen milestones as millstones.
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But then, as I was watching a television commercial this week, something disconcerting hit me: This is my last year in power.
Why? Because these are my last days as a coveted demographic. In the very near future, I will no longer be 18 to 35.
This is upsetting. For the last 16 years, advertisers have seen me as no less than a god. People with money wanted me, needed me, worshipped me. I was male, single, and powerful, with companies writing their whole playbook based on my loves and lusts.
But now, suddenly, I am irrelevant. And it hurts. Now I understand how housewives abruptly dropped for younger women must feel.
I’m aware that ad men only wanted me because I was easy to manipulate, quick to depart with my money, and socially irresponsible, but at least they wanted me. Advertising gets older, its loves stay the same age.
I can prove I’ll be neglected, too. Look at any ad aimed at the younger set: They’re awesome. Whether it’s the Canadian Armed Forces or underarm body spray, commercials meant for young males have Hollywood production values. That the Old Spice guy hasn’t won some sort of major acting award yet is one of the great injustices of our time.
Now look at the ads aimed at people who aren’t young males: They suck.
Car dealership owners, gold dealers, and personal injury lawyers screaming at us, creepy dads who dye their hair to get over the death of their wife, and seniors that make you wish somebody would skip the high-impact yoga and go get acting lessons.
Oh sure, there are some slick ads for baby boomers, but I’m not in that group either. I’m about to become the forgotten middle child, demographically.
This is where the decline starts. Soon I’ll spend my days complaining that today’s TV, music, and products aren’t as good as when I was young. But nobody will listen.
It’s going to be lonely. If only some shiny doodad or new trend could help ease the pain. Please take me back, advertisers: I swear, I can stay the same.