Day 9: Your feelings on ageism
Well, this is going to be tough one as I thought I'd already done today but apparently not and really I'm just ready to go to bed and sleep. But. But I have promised myself that I'll do this so here it is all in a rush before I pass out for the night!!
My feelings on ageism are pretty simple really. Surely we can measure a person's worth, their character, their suitability for a job or as a friend or partner by getting to know them. By finding out about them. By meeting them as a person and not as a number.
People vary so much in their indefinable qualities such as intelligence, adaptability, tact, enthusiasm, willingness to learn, empathy, commitment, integrity, imagination, empathy, originality, common sense, warmth, honesty, assertiveness, openness, creativity and energy. These qualities can be found in people of all ages.
Ageism is to discriminate or be prejudiced against someone simply because of their age. I suppose it is most prevalent in the employment sector where many are considered too old to employ. Their wealth of experience is often overlooked in favour of youthful enthusiasm. Both of course have their place in the workforce and in the world at large. If I was an employer I'd be most interested in creating a team of people who would be respectful of each other. Age ought not come into that at all really. I would be keen to have some older people to bring some stability and wisdom (not to say that these qualities are not possible in younger people) and some younger people to bring enthusiasm and freshness (not to say that these qualities are not possible in older people).
I wonder if ageism has come about as a result of the tradition of schooling people from a young age in groups designated by age alone. Perhaps that instills a certain attitude that excludes others from the group simply on the basis of age. It's a little bit crazy in my opinion. I have so many different people in my life, from tinies to oldies and they all have something wonderful to offer other human beings.
I'd love to see the ages mixing more. I'd love to see more young people involving themselves in community movements that seem to have become the realm of older folk. I'd love to see more of the older folk bringing their patience and kindness to help support the younger ones as they work out who they are in the world.
Smile at everyone you meet. Every old person has once been young. They understand way more than you might think. Listen to their stories and give them the gift of your time. You will be well rewarded with wrinkled smiles and twinkling eyes. Some of our young ones may never make it to old age. Have empathy for them as they journey through a world that might be very different to the one you grew up in. They really are just trying to find their way. Give them the gift of your time and understanding. Most of us need someone to tell us that everything is going to be alright. Things get tough sometimes but we are strong and with some support we can get through most challenges.
Try to be more forgiving and allow people to show you who they are. Each one of us deserves way more than being judged or excluded on the grounds of our age. Maybe we need a few changes in our culture to allow us to be more inclusive and to learn to enjoy being together in mixed age groups. We might need some changes in our culture in order to honour both the old and the young rather than the middle years being seen as the 'prime of life' and the early years and the late years as times of being somewhat useless.
My challenge for you today - spend some time listening and talking with someone you wouldn't normally socialise with because they are too old or too young to be of interest to you. You just might make a new friend in the process. You will almost certainly learn something new and you will probably feel pretty good for having done something for someone else.
Cheers to all young and old.
We are all human beings. We don't have room for isms.