However the Sussex situation ends, "Stepping Back" is already set to be the buzz phrase of 2020. It's early days to be predicting such things but this one captures the mood of the moment - like downsizing before it - and says everything you need to know about current priorities and attitudes.
"We are Stepping Back" to spend more time with the children; to travel and see the world; to do more of the things we want to do and less of the things others expect. It's what's known as a progressive choice (also tipping "progressive" to be a big word of 2020), which is any choice that comes as a blindsiding shock to those concerned, but which feels like it will benefit those choosing it.
Everyone's doing it. The Sussexes recent Stepping Back is just a big example - with constitutional implications - of the Stepping Back we're all secretly thinking about, because we're worth it.
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Warning. Readers born before 1965 may not recognise any of this but trust us it's a thing and entirely normal if you are under 40. Here are some examples of Stepping Back 2020 style:
Stepping Back from extended family responsibilities
Like, for example, instead of spending any festivities with all the grannies sitting around watching telly, heading to a sexy hotel in a hot country where we can drink only the wine we like, chilled to exactly the temperature we like, swim, do a bit of yoga. So much better for us.
Stepping Back from work
Just, really, avoiding the unhealthy stresses, even if that means not "stepping up", old style. (We're not sure if the progressive choice Stepping Back means that stepping up is now an archaic idea to be lumped on the bonfire of anachronisms along with "pulling yourself together", "bucking up" and "not dwelling". Time will tell.).
Anyway stepping back in a work context is the next phase on from finding the right work/life balance, plus acknowledging that what you need to do to feel calm and content is more important than the fact that Janice is holding the fort, on her own, with a temperature, because everyone has gone down with norovirus. Step Backers love work - need the money, need the structure, need the stimulation -but if they wake up in the morning and are just not feeling it, don't expect them to fight that feeling.
Stepping Back from social media
Everyone is getting tired of the noise and the haters and the trolling and the noise, the Step Backers and Lean Inners. - Stepping back from our friends Just not going out. Not going on gang holidays. Not rustling up big parties in the kitchen on a Friday night. Instead, going a bit capsule: a couple here and there. Maybe six at once, or four, not the previous 14 and counting.
Stepping back from beauty procedures
There's some evidence abroad in A list world that people who previously were never *not* having a tiny bit of Botox or an invisible face or knee lift, are now doing much less or possibly something much sneakier. This is a healthy Stepping Back though.
Stepping back from godparenting duties
(While we're on the subject, wonder if Harry has sent a note round to all his mates reassuring them that he is still the godparent in chief? Because we all know that half the year in Canada means half the year in Canada this year, and eleven months next year, and then the odd weekend trip back to England, once in a while, if there's something very big occurring. We all know that, right?)
As for us civilians: we want to be good godparents but we just haven't got the time to eek it out to 21 anymore, especially now that we are not Stepping Back from our own children. When that happens in the new decade we have no idea…when they're 35?