Is False the New True?

“No tattoos are the new tattoos,” I heard someone say the other day. These tongue in cheek observations like, “Small is the new big,” “Cats are the new dogs, “Bored is the new excited,” (okay, I made the last one up) can be quite cute, but are they also a little damaging?


Essentially what these phrases are trying to convey is that society is progressing – we no longer see tattoos as the symbol of rebellion as we once did; in fact, they’re so commonplace that they go unnoticed even by some employers. But if we continue to compare the old to new, when are we at risk of losing authenticity?

Like this past winter, for example. It was “ten below” but “felt” like twenty below. When it was twenty below, it “felt” like thirty below.

Image  So how would we ever really know what twenty below really feels like?

Gretchin Rubin talks about how she’s “amused” by this phrase in The Happiness Project. I admit that I like her take on it and a few that she mentions like, “Sleep is the new sex,” and “Monday is the new Thursday (for making plans after work).” Last on the list is, “Forties are the new thirties,” which I’m sure we’ve all heard before – thirties are the new twenties, fifties are the new forties. But I ask again: When does it end?

Sure, we all dismiss these age antics as a joke, even forgive them for being conversation starters for talking about health, fitness and vitality. But in all seriousness, why can’t we rejuvenate from where we are? Why can’t we agree that our thirties are a new thirties? It’s true that people are living longer, so being in your thirties or forties is no longer considered going downhill – it’s prime time, baby!

While our twenties are an uphill battle for some, a pleasing treasure hunt without a map for others, neither sound like fun or worth repeating to me. Your thirties are special all on their own. We’re more sure of ourselves than in our twenties, but with hopefully the same energy and gusto for life to do a hefty round of soul-searching before we settle on our life’s work. Many of us start to truly know what it is to be “a responsible adult” and I hope more and more of us are finding true happiness and contentment while we are still young and able to enjoy it for a long long time.

This phrase has been a growing phenomenon and will undoubtedly continue to be so as the popularity of Orange is the New Black increases. And maybe once I’m eighty years old I won’t mind the phrase as much when people say I’m the new seventy or sixty. But I also hope I’m still proud enough to be the age I am and able to enjoy all the gifts that come with every decade.

Stay tuned for an upcoming research project that delves into what exactly “the gifts of our thirties” are. I will need your help and I have some really cool incentives and rewards for participation.


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