Demographic Shifts

It’s never been clear to me exactly when I shifted demographics. One moment, I was blissfully content watching music videos for hours on end and reveled in the fact that I recognized everyone on the cover of People magazine; today, not only do I not watch or know, I don’t even care!?! When did this happen?


Sure, I suppose phases of life involving career-building or child rearing may have something to do with it, but just because you’re a parent or a promising employee doesn’t mean that all of your interest in pop culture flies out the window, right? And, on the other end of the spectrum, what is that magic moment when seniors decide they prefer to have the tv on ALL THE TIME? They grumble about politics and gold prices and insist on displaying photographs of people nobody else recognizes. Is this what I have to look forward to?


When do health-status conversations first appear as the go-to source for visceral pleasure?


Despite my tongue-in-cheek tone, I’m actually serious. It surprises and puzzles me to note my indifference to things in which I previously delighted as much as I feel annoyed when subjected to my elders going on and on and ON about their poor sleep habits. I’ve had some restless nights myself, so I know it can be a drag, but these fixations rapidly assume a life of their own.


I don’t think these shifts in interest can be fully attributed to increased maturity or the loneliness and physical degradation that often accompanies one’s later years. No doubt various sociologists would gladly provide a theory or two, but I’d rather figure it out on my own. This alteration in taste and interests is so pronounced that advertisers slot each of us into our groups based on the fact that millions of us are doing the same thing!


I used to love going to the movies; now, it’s a rare day if I watch any film in its entirety, let alone visit the multiplex. I used to listen to my cds, happily, for hours on end, eagerly awaiting the next release from one artist or another. Now, they lie neglected in their cases, unthought of and…unloved. What happened? Are you nodding your head as you read this? I don’t understand; there are loads of talented artists out there today, but it doesn’t matter to me. These days, it takes a lot to catch my attention or rise to the level of something (or someone) being worth my time. And I like people!


Is excitement a diminishing value as one grows older? I sure hope not. Is it that life experience inevitably tempers our responses? We can be interested—even fascinated by things—but what is it about evolving as an adult that typically involves emotional plateaus? This post disturbs me because I don’t know where to go with this line of thought, but the phenomena is real, real and pronounced; and we rarely perceive this shift before we are so thoroughly under its sway that we no longer care about the things we used to prize. While, it’s true that it would be far more disturbing were I to continue to get pleasure out of playing with my dollhouse or racing Big Wheels down the sidewalk, the time-limited quality of adult interests is far less apparent.


What about you? Is this happening to you? What prize activities did you formerly enjoy that now leave you yawning? Did you realize it at the time or was it a gradual transition? Can you articulate why you no longer care? Isn’t that odd?


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