Day 9 – Your feelings on ageism
Interesting question, with all the other isms we are fighting against at the moment – racism… well, that’s apparently the only actual “ism” but homophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, misandry – to focus on ageism, which is absolutely a thing.
Yes, there are physiological factors to consider. As you get older, your body changes and you become less resilient, you get sick(er) more easily, your mind doesn’t work as well as it once did… Unless it doesn.t
I have seen people in their 80s and 90s who are just as active and mentally acute as 30 year olds. It’s all in how you take care of yourself. Play brain games to stave off mental stagnation. Walk a couple miles (with purpose) every day. Exercise.
I’ve gotten a little off track but here’s what it all boils down to: You are only as old as you feel. Or, to continue on the cliché train, age is nothing but a number. Age is only important if one is a wine or a cheese.
I’m pretty sure that the “legal” ages for things are totally arbitrary as well and therefore, kind of bogus. How is someone who is 20 years, 364 days, and 23 hours old any less capable of making “the right decision” when alcohol is involved than they will be in one more hour? How is someone who is 18 old enough and mature enough to make the decision to serve in the military but not have a beer with her friends before she leaves for boot camp?
“Ageism” is probably, realistically, the thing we encounter more in our lives than anything else. Think about how many times someone has told you you are too old/young to do something. I hear it almost every time I tell someone I don’t have children. “You’re young, there’s time.” Just the other day, someone asked how long I’d been doing hair and when I said about 3 years, they said, “So that’s probably most of your working life, right?” I know that’s not negative ageism but in both cases, they were assuming – because I look younger than I am – that (the important) things will come later. They were putting me in a box based on how old (they think) I am. How many times I’ve been around the sun. How is that real?
“Aren’t you a little old to be wearing that?”
“You’re too old to be acting so irresponsible.”
“You’re young, you’ll figure it out.”
“You dress like an old woman, let’s find you something younger.”
But aren’t these statements all pretty much completely arbitrary? What does any of it have to do with real life? We have, in my opinion, far too many things more important to concern ourselves with than whether or not Grandma should have pink hair and wear roller skates or if Suzie is going to “get her life together” before it’s “too late.”*
We, as a society, really need to stop judging people. Period, new sentence. We need to stop judging people and placing arbitrary expectations on them, based on how many birthdays they’ve had.
TL;DR – My official stance on “ageism” is it is probably the dumbest reason to judge a person that we’ve come up with so far. Not that they aren’t all pretty dumb but only the person inside the body knows what the body is fully capable of accomplishing. It is not for the rest of us to make that decision for them.