Social scholars say that we are hardwired to connect with others. So imagine the genius of an enemy which thrives and depends upon, with laser focus, that hardwiring to destroy us. Then imagine that it targets the wisest and most sage among us, leaving only the young –Darwinian masterminding creating a world that sans seniors, becomes a feeding ground for other new viruses that are far less age discriminatory when it comes to hosts. If viruses are in it for the “long game”–it’s a win for the virus.
Two months ago, I suggested to a young niece that my generation needed more influencers and I hoped to maybe become one. I am after all, that “certain age” as Simone de Beauvoir called it, working full-time, taking in less exercise than I should but possibly more than many of my peers, monitoring retirement investments, downsizing real estate and, lest I forget, not completely unfamiliar with Match, Silver Singles and Zoosk. She, the twenty-something niece, suggested that being an influencer in the digital age, with a following consisting of people over 65 that unlike her generation didn’t live and die by the mobile phone, didn’t hold a lot of promise.
At the time, neither she nor I knew about COVID19–the catalyst that is destined to change everyone’s reality–the viral introducer to a generation of seniors that the time to learn to use the phone, facetime, zoom, skype had come. The catalyst that gave a large piece of the population the comfort of working from home, no highways, traffic jams, public transport or daily commute–the source of inspiration for maybe more than a few seniors that “retirement” by necessity might need postponing, that banking needed to be online, along with shopping and other contactless activity. Suddenly, reaching my audience was less daunting than originally anticipated–it was a hill that Covid-19 climbed for an entire generation.
Why are there no seniors influencing? We have workplace issues. We face challenges. We take comfort in the same peer-to-peer sharing that have benefited the generations behind us. We have credit cards. We shop. We buy and sell houses. We invest. We marry, we divorce. We get widowed, we marry again, and again. We own cars and grow more than flowers in gardens.
An influencer is someone who builds a reputation for knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. I consider myself fairly expert on being a senior, eligible for early morning grocery shopping in the self-quarantining era. I’m going to bet that more of my peers than ever, are now connected. In an age that promises to be more digitized than ever, those of us who succeed in escaping the scourge of COVID-19 will suffer the residual loss of being left behind in the age of the electronic frontier unless we board that train now. Let’s do this.