This is something that I’m sure a lot of younger 20-somethings can relate to. You’ve reached that point where you are for sure in adulthood, yet your experiences within adulthood are still relatively recent, new, or not yet accomplished (i.e. Getting your first “Big Kid” job, getting married, buying a car/house, having kids, etc.) Or, you’ve experienced those things, but you’re young enough that people assume you haven’t or that just in general, you don’t have enough life experience to deal with things maturely.
I’ve struggled against ageism (if I’m allowed to call it that) for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a household where I was the youngest by nine years, and by the time I turned ten, I was the youngest by 32 years. So naturally, I’ve grown up surrounded by people and frames of mind a decade + my senior. My parents always treated me with the respect that they would give another adult, and frankly, I’m so stubborn that they learned pretty early on that even as a kid, the only way to get through to me was by logical reasoning. So I was raised on a habit of examining myself and others and reasoning my way through interactions logically.
That being said, I find it very frustrating when I my thoughts or actions are discounted because of my age. Do not use my age as a reason why I can or cannot do something. Do not use my age as a reason why something is my fault. I am an adult, I may not have the wisdom that life experience brings, but I have enough insight to deal with concerns, issues, and problems, and I have enough maturity to accept responsibility where accepting responsibility is needed. To me, age is not the biggest factor in maturity. Maturity relies most heavily on perspective. Perspective can be acquired at any age.
One of my worst pet peeves are people who tell me how they acted or what they thought when they “were my age” and then proceed to use that as reasoning or expectation for my own actions and reactions in life. Sure, you have insight about things that happened in your life at a similar time. Sure you went through similar things that I might now be experiencing because of where I am in life in terms of getting a job, establishing a career, dating, etc. But that doesn’t mean we’re the same person or that we’re going to have the same experiences. By all means, share with me your advice or insight, but don’t expect that you know all the answers to my life or that you understand me or my actions completely.
I know this is very teenage-ery sounding, but this issue has weirdly come up a lot lately. I thought I had reached a place in my life where people had enough decency to get to know me, speak with me, realize my maturity before judging me based on my age. This has strangely not been the case. Perhaps those people need to gain some more perspective themselves.
It’s strange to be talking about ageism without referencing older adults and the elderly. But I guess just like every other issue, it can go both ways. And the more and more I interact with people of all walks of life, the more I realize just how seriously important it is to take the time to understand people, to empathize with them, and to really lead your life from a place of love so that you can have the patience to understand and empathize.
Just something to think about.