30 Day Writing Challenge – Day Nine
So I saw the above list on Facebook and decided it was worth giving a go. Every day for the month of April, I’ll be putting together a short blog on the chosen topic. But of course since I have a life and responsibilities, I might have written it a few days in advance and scheduled it to appear on my blog for the right day! So, with that in mind, here’s today’s blog.
“9. Your feelings on ageism”
There’s always a lot of stigma with age regardless of what age you are. What varies is how much stigma, and how negatively that can impact your life. At my age in life it’s not all that big, save from the usual daft comments about being in your 30s or in your 40s. I know people around my age that have felt pressured into being married or starting a family, but that’s about the extent of it. Not insignificant, but not as bad as other ages might suffer.
Kids are rightly treated like kids, but I’ve always found it odd that there are mandatory age limits on things when each person is an individual and will mature at a different rate than people of a similar age. Take for instance driving. You can’t do it legally until you’re 17, yet some people will be terrific drivers before they reach that age because they’ll have been doing it on private ground.
Imagine how ridiculous it was for Lewis Hamilton to wait until he was 17 to take his driving test when he was already a karting champions long before then!
That’s an extreme example, but it can factor into to many other aspects of life. Why do you have to be 18 to vote in this country? If anything was proven conclusively during the independence referendum it was that our young people are arguably far more clued up when it comes to politics than many of those who are of voting age! I know I was very keen on politics at school thanks to my Modern Studies classes. Thankfully the law was changed here in Scotland to allow 16 and 17 years olds to vote in the upcoming Holyrood elections, but the law still remains at 18 in all other elections.
That’s ridiculous. The people I want deciding who runs the country are the people who are actively interested and know what they’re talking about. I don’t want people putting a cross in a certain box purely because that’s what they’ve always done. That’s not democracy, that’s stupidity.
The really annoying aspect at this end of the scale is the minimum wage though. Why is there a two tier system for that? If an 18 year old is doing the same job as a 22 year old they should be getting paid the same wage! But no, our minimum wage is different for those under 21 than it is for those over 21. Indeed, they’ve just made it worse by bringing in the woefully named living wage that only applies if you’re over 25!
Same job, same pay. No exceptions. That’s as important for age as it is for sex.
At the other end of the scale, older people get a lot of benefits from free bus passes to a state pension when they reach a certain age threshold. That’s great, they’ve paid their taxes for years and when you get as certain point in life you should get a kick back from that as a reward for the long years of work you’ve put in. No one should have to work until they die.
But there are other aspects of society that really let them down. Older people have been around long enough to know what they like, and when society changes around them and away from what they like I can understand why that might be difficult for them. But people can shy away from them as they appear set in their ways, or perhaps it seems like all they do is complain.
It can be even worse when frailty or ill-health is factored in. Have you ever tried to talk to someone who struggles to speak, or needs help to even stand up, when what they can relate to in life is far different from what you can relate to in life? It’s not easy for many reasons, especially if this is someone you’ve known for years and you remember them before the frailty or ill-health started to affect them. I know I’ve been guilty of this in the past, it’s just easier to avoid them, and that’s a horrible admission.
It’s probably something I have to work on, and I’m not sure what the answer is. To be honest, I struggle to relate to people of my own age at times!