Neil Offen

Trying to stay hip? Try this, baby boomers

Neil Offen
Neil Offen

Getting older is really getting old, you know. That is, it’s tough being a baby boomer now, even if you do finally qualify for senior day — hey, 5 percent off! — on Thursdays at the supermarket.

Despite serious efforts to stay current, up-to-the-minute, chill, many of us boomers still don’t know the difference between hip hop and rap. We try to wear athleisure, actually believing it looks good at our regular Wednesday Pilates class. We play brain games to ward off dementia and drink kombucha to ward off the brain games. We update our LinkedIn profiles, just in case, although there’s nothing much to update. We eat ceviche, even if we don’t know what it is or how to pronounce it.

But the reality is, we’re worried that time has passed us by, or at least we’re concerned we’ve been passed in the slow swimming lane by that 12-year-old with a kick board. We wonder why no one else wears pleated pants anymore and why we can’t bring ourselves to call anybody “bro.”

We worry, too, that the world now has new, unidentifiable vegetables and mysterious grains from the remote Andes that are replacing Cheerios from remote Michigan. We’re concerned about famous TV shows we’ve never heard of, on networks we can’t find. We wonder why we have replaced landlines, which we never accidentally left on the hood of the car, with smartphones that are so smart we can’t figure them out.

We have so many new ways to communicate that we continue to confuse WhatsApp with Snapchat and Instagram with Instamatic. We are embarrassed that we don’t always get all the pop cultural references on Saturday Night Live skits, if we were able to stay up late enough for Saturday Night Live.

When I was about to turn 30, I told friends 30 was only a number and not to worry. Then on the morning of my 30th birthday, I woke up covered in locusts. So I realize that numbers, when they concern your age, are important.

That is, I’m now at an age which is supposed to be the new 40. And 40, of course, is supposed to be the new 28 and 28 is supposed to be the new 17. Which makes me wonder why I haven’t been invited to the senior prom yet.

Also, I’m wondering, if 28 is the new 17, does that mean Apple may even have changed the way we do arithmetic and replaced the old system with MATH OS 12.02?

So the question is, how do baby boomers cope with this new world? How do we stay current and remain hip when our hips have been replaced while trying to get to those 10,000 steps per day our Fitbits demand from us? How do we make believe we really understand text messages that include acronyms such as KMN? (I looked it up; it’s Kill Me Now.)

IHNI. (I Have No Idea.)

Neil Offen can be reached at Past columns can be found at