Don’t be surprised if you find a senior who is vacationing harder than you, doing gym, zumba, pilates like a boss, pursuing their long gone passion wholeheartedly and is making the most of their golden years. Yes, they are ‘seenagers’ – senior citizens who want to live the life of teenagers.
As older adults, they have everything they wanted as a teenager, only 50 years later. In fact, it is even better than being a teenager as they can live their life on their own terms. No more going to school or college, no homeworks, finances are sorted, have their own house, no pending loans, no more responsibilities, their own driving license and more importantly their freedom in their hands.
If you identify with all this, then congratulations, you too are a ‘seenager!’
As seniors in our Indian society are mostly seen through a stereotypical lens, it is perhaps interesting to note that there are, in fact, a lot of older adults around us who have learnt to live life in their stride. With no more burying behind the concept of retirement, these new set of older adults are revolutionizing the whole being senior game.
These older adults are aware of their health and take measures to keep themselves fit and healthy. They use social media to their advantage to guarantee their safety. They keep themselves in touch with their family and have a group of similarly aged friends with whom they share interests. They attend workshops and are not ashamed to ask questions about new technologies they might not know. They invest wisely and seek information about new methods of investment so that they are financially independent.
Be it dressing impeccably or talking their minds to fulfilling their dreams, these seniors are killing it in these four areas:
Living on their own terms
Seenagers have not allowed age to slow them down, if anything, they have defied age-related stereotypes and are emerging as the cool generation of people who know how to live life on their own terms. In a more stereotyped scenario post-retirement, older adults are seen helping their children and grandchildren, while still coming to terms with the new adjustments of the retired life. They want to dress and behave ‘age-appropriately’ and take life as it comes. In fact, author, journalist, 51-year old Sudha Menon says, “India is one the most ageist societies in the world. Even your closest ones here tell older adults what is age-appropriate and what is not.”
But, that’s not how seenagers live. They are not the ones to be cowed down by societal norms and crazy rules. They have finally got to a stage where they can live on their own terms.
Embracing the digital age
Seenagers have perfected the art of learning new things. They are the ones you see using smartphones instead of the QWERTY ones. They are very active on social media and know various nuances like using online payment services or money transfers. From booking their cabs online to health appointments digitally, seenagers are all over the internet. They have already traded their transistors and VCRs for iPods and pen drives. They watch videos on YouTube and are more updated with the current affairs than their children. Seenagers look forward to being on par with their grandchildren. They want to be in touch with them as much as they can, even if they live separately. They learn new things like Skype and FaceTime willingly just to be in contact with their grandchildren.
A report by CII suggests that potential market size driven by senior citizens is as large as Rs. 100000 crores. The report also suggests that the 60+ population forms 25% of the cumulative assets of existing banking deposits.
Hence, with no more responsibilities to look after and having planned the finances well advance in their lives, seenagers are the group of people who can not only manage but happily conduct themselves independently. No more these older adults need children to support them financially or to add even emotionally. From planning their holidays on their own to having fun in their circle or even by themselves, these seenagers are fine examples of free-spirited, independent individuals. Some of them even have interesting bucket lists to work upon.
In fact, as per data analysed by the Indian Hotel Company (IHC) from 2014, the revenue from the 60+ generation on holidays have been growing at 14% year-on-year.
Engaging social environment
With changing social dynamics, the environment for older adults is also changing rapidly. In order to support the working-class children, seniors adjust to new cities where their social environment shrinks, which may result in loneliness, isolation and depression. But seenagers are not restricted to such limitations. They actively engage in clubs and activities around them. From enrolling to learn a new language or musical instrument to going hiking with likeminded people.
These are the seenagers. They believe living life to the fullest and on their own terms. These seniors do not believe in sitting back and letting life run through them. They prefer holding life by its reins and taming it.
People naturally assume that as you age physically, your brain processes start slowing down. It is, however, not at all true. Your true age might be 70, but you actually may feel like you are 35. In fact, scientists believe that an older adult takes time to process information because of the sheer amount of data already present in their brain!
So before you think that the older generation is outdated in their views and outlook towards life, have a look at these seenagers; very likely, they might change the way you look at life!