Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thirty Day Writing Challenge: Day 9, Your Feelings on Ageism

My feelings on ageism

Looking back, I can tell I was an ageist.  (Most little kids are.)  It's easy to reduce it to your little sister being too young to ride your bike, and the elderly neighbor being too old to skateboard.  But that's largely harmless ageism (except from my sister's perspective, when I wouldn't let her tag along).

It becomes more complicated as you, ironically, age.

In college the first time, I thought teachers were too old to hang out with/ date students, and that students were my age, and was shocked by 'real' adults coming back for their education.

As parents, we tend to have pre-existing social limits and laws that we must adhere to, that are entirely, and literally ageist:  back facing child seat until 2, booster seats until 5, when to start preschool, and their birth date MUST fall in this range to start that grade...

And when I returned to college to finish my degree, I was on the other end of my first trip, and could see both my teachers and classmates as peers, and in hind sight, wished I'd had the ability to do so a decade prior.

As a working adult, I know people who aren't hired because 'they're too old'.  I know that I'm not that far from reaching the age when hireability becomes harder, in this ever hardening job market.

But it's subtler as well.  My friends all used to be within five years of my own age.

Now, they're up to twenty years younger, and sixty years older, and I love that we can have them all to our home in a mixed party, and everyone have a good time because age doesn't matter.

But I'd be naive to think that an absolute.

Because outside, in the population at large, we still have ageist policy and practice: 

Retirement age. 

Age to vote. 

To buy alcohol. 

To drive.

To marry. 

To run for president. 

Ageism is an ingrained part of our society.  But it's largely harmless...Right?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear your thoughts!