I wonder if any of this can be attributed to the fear of old age, infirmities, and death.
Nowadays, it seems “wrong” or “weak-willed” somehow to get old and develop wrinkles, bad knees, weight gain, etc. We become unhappy with ourselves because we are doing what is perfectly normal–getting weaker and closer to the end. In our attempts to deal with our unhappiness, we get involved with someone who makes us “feel” young and beautiful and HAPPY again.
Speaking of weight gain, obesity claims a high percentage of Americans, including many older Americans (my husband and me!). There’s an abundance of food, including many tasty junk foods (sorry, health nuts–YOU may think Cheetos taste awful and Snickers are “too sweet”–but people like me and my husband love them!). With stress-filled lives, we turn to food, especially easy-to-eat-in-the-car junk food.
People have always gotten a little soft and even chubby as they age, but nowadays, many of us carry 50 or more extra pounds, and suffer from some of the physical ailments connected to obesity (e.g., diabetes, clogged arteries, osteoarthritis pain, etc.). This makes it difficult to carry out retirement plans made back in our younger years (e.g., travelling, hiking the Appalachian Trail, doing a lay mission project, volunteering, being a foster parent, etc.) This leads to disappointment with life, depression, and a desire to try to “start over”, perhaps with a new partner who, for some reason, is able to inspire us to get moving on weight lost and fitness.
Also, many of us boomers grew up in the 1960s, when we were all convinced that we could bring about peace and love throughout the world.
So now we are in our 60s and 70s and the world is worse than ever–more wars, terrorism, violent crimes, gangs, inner city despair, world hunger, natural disasters and the claim that it is caused by “global warming” (back when we were young, we were told that the world is getting colder and eventually we will enter another Ice Age).
And it’s discouraging. We feel like we’ve all failed–all that protesting and singing and drinking Coke-a-cola on a hillside was for nothing. So it’s no wonder that we are trying to “do it all over again,” thinking that maybe THIS time, our “young” lives–and perhaps a new partner!–will bring about the Age of Aquarius.
This is an interesting topic to me.