As my birthday draws near, I have chosen to mark yet another passing of the Earth around the sun. And I am troubled. So troubled. Its not that I am aging in general, or even the specific year of which I am about to achieve. I am only turning 35, somewhere between here and there. What weighs down upon me like a stone is the fact that I…….I…….I’m exiting a key target demographic.
You see, this is America. And the most important thing about you in America isn’t what you do, who you vote for or how you feel about light bulbs. The most important thing about you and me in America is what target Demographic you and I fall in to. And for the last 50 years, the single greatest, the single most important, the bestest, the most significant demographic to live in has been the 18-34 age group!
The 18-34 demographic has shaped the American society we have lived in for years in many ways. Think about it. Everything from the car you drive to the food you eat, to the beer you drink, to the water you drink, to the movies you watch, to the $250 running shoes you……..well, run in, have all been decided by trends and data extrapolated from the choices of the 18-34 demographic. During the last sixteen years of my life, I have been part of the most significant age group in American Society. It’s enough to scare the hell out of all of our grandparents.
Now you, being a reasonable person of sound mind, will probable relate to me that I will simply move on to a new demographic. And in some areas of study, you would be correct. But, in most cases, the next significant age demographic is not until 40. That is what, like 7 or 9 years away! So, American society is throwing me out into a void, a limbo, a chasm between significance! My opinion on movies, and water, and beer and cars won’t matter until I’m 40.
I have to admit, though, this journey of insignificance will actually be quite easy. And good training as well. You see, I drink cheap water, cheap beer, I do own a truck that was pretty popular when I bought it, but it’s paid for now and I’m not getting another one. So, to the powers that be, my opinion has been pretty worthless for years. Thinking about the future, I have two daughters that will someday be teenagers. So, this is the good training for the future when my opinion will definitely be useless.
I guess it’s not so bad after all. No real reason to lament or create the illusion of wailing and mashing of teeth in response to this birthday. But I am leaving a significant period of my life. And the powers that be will not need me until 40. The flip side is that they will really love me when I am 50. 50+ is the NEW power demographic thanks to the baby boomers. And I’ll definitely have plenty to say to them when I get there. Of course I’ll have plenty of gas as well. I wonder what demographic that will put me in. Probably one on my own.
pic from jimbenton.com