A Youth Culture?

Deanna Eppers
5 min readNov 6, 2022

Why being into youth makes us miss our best lives ever…

It started as a line from a show I watch. “I thought I taught you to never talk back to an older man.” Suddenly my thoughts filled with the rules ingrained in me from my mannerly mother; manners that make society nicer, people kinder and the world more orderly.

“Stand up when an older man or woman enters the room.” Mom wasn’t talking about a ten year age difference, or we’d be standing all day. No, it meant an older generational person. Think grandma or grandpa.

If you’re reading this and are in your teens, then yes, stand when your aunt or uncle first enters a room. One time per new person, unless they enter en masse. Your young knees can handle it.

“If you’re sitting down in a ____ (bus, airport, anywhere really) and an older or infirm or pregnant person enters, let them have your seat. Men, this especially applies to you as your strength enables you to stand longer (supposedly). Hey, I didn’t make up the rules.

Photo by Vlad Sargu on Unsplash

We worship the young. We have 55 year old actresses using surgery to look 35, so they can play a younger part. Why? Why does anyone think youth has the answers? They might solve world hunger or the butter shortage, but they don’t know half of what 50 or 60 or 70somethings know.

Our 20s might look good on the outside, but inside we’re melting down if we think our boss is mean, our hours too long, we don’t have understanding friends (hint: you never will, though it gets better), we’re not respected enough, but are we okay? Are we keeping up? Keeping up with what? And why? We look at our phones and the great lives everyone else we know (except Bertha) is having, and our anxiety skyrockets.

20s and 30s are full of anxiety, except when that vodka hits our bloodstream. The incessant comparing sucks our courage and heart away.

I’m here to tell you getting older rocks. We take things in a more laid back manner, we don’t give a damn about missing out since doing our own thing is so fun, we (mostly) know how to deal with others, we are choosy when it comes to friends and family, and we have confidence.

Photo by Ekaterina Shakharova on Unsplash

As a kid I knew I’d be sophisticated and coiffed when I hit middle age. I saw it being played out at my parents’ parties. The 30, 40 and 50 year olds would saunter in wearing stunning floor length gowns for the sheer fun of it, and the men would wear tartan at Christmas and they’d drink themselves silly on Shrove Tuesday until Rex (my father) hid the booze and mother served coffee at midnight.

They sang around the piano, cigarettes burning, martinis spilling and the noise so raucous my brother and I found sleep impossible, so we watched them have their fun. And I knew being 40 was a wonderful age brimming with contentment and happiness.

As for “old age” I knew what that would look like too. It meant wearing comfy clothes. The ladies wore house dresses and slippers were de riguer after dinner. The men also had their own way of wearing pajamas as much as possible.

And if a paunch came along with our bellies it was not the end of the world. It meant enjoying cake. Sitting outside and watching the world. Getting together with family took on new meaning, since a younger generation needed to hear the old stories.

I was going to have a belly, grey hair, not look in the mirror too much, slap on some lipstick and get on with life.

Now? We need to workout like we were 20, except my body doesn’t do what it did at 20. Lupus and other things, so I try to starve myself to look like my two sisters who are too thin. All bones when I hug them. I don’t have grey hair, but the blonde has grown darker. I want to stop wearing jeans, since those sweats, joggers and easy pants feel better, but I never liked jeans even when I was five.

Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash

Can we get back to honoring the older people? They know so much more. They’ve lived. They are more mellow, and they have earned that seat on the bus. Not every older human is a good person, but generally people a decade or three decades older than we are smarter.

We’re so impatient running to our Brazilian waxes, our hair colorings, and our workout classes, that we don’t have time to relax and enjoy our age. Let the 20somethings think their parties are the best, because we know the conversation over a dinner table with our four favorite people makes for a soul satisfying night to remember.

In our rush to believe youth has it all, we forgot sex gets so much better with age, simply because we’ve done it more and we’re more skilled (put that on a resume), we possess more knowledge, we’re confident about who we are, and we like it when someone has to cancel. It means a night inside wearing our sweats, doing what we like. No pressure.

Even the music of the older ones is worth a listen. If we do one thing this November can it be honoring an older person? The road to kindness feels so far away, but it’s the little steps.

I’ll start by not rolling my eyes and just ordering my mom her favorite perfume on ebay. (Her perfume isn’t made any longer.) As I order I’ll listen to her stories about life. She has lived. I won’t even go into her belly-dancing phase or her bragging about her own sex life (and damn, I’d like to ask some more questions about that).

It’s a start.



Deanna Eppers

Musician, ex-CPA at KPMG Peat Marwick, volunteer, decorator, renovating another house, mom to three, wife to one, blogs about finding happiness