Firstly, let’s all take a moment to gaze adoringly at Lee Jeffries’ unbelievable photo that I’ve used on my title today. Incredible. Check out more of his incredible work here.
Ageism is a funny thing. On the one hand, I strongly believe that anyone over the age of 70 should be subjected to annual driving reviews to ensure they’re still fit to be behind a wheel, and on the other hand, I disagree entirely with ageism in more general forms.
My mum will be 57 in March 2016. She’s struggled in the past to find work because there’s always someone younger that the employers would rather have. I’ve been the victim of ageism myself, where a job I’ve been perfect for has gone to someone older because “they have more experience”. Basically, you’re golden if you’re 30-45. Anything outside of those ages and you might as well sit back down, close that application form and go sign on.
Having said all that, I take further issue with ageism of very particular sorts. A couple of nights ago a Facebook friend of mine posted a status that verbally slaughtered the elderly in our local area, stating very enthusiastically (for a 17 year old) that “if you want my respect, earn it”. Well excuse me, honey, any person who can survive life as we know it for 70+ years has my respect automatically. It’s a matter of principle. We still live in a world where very elderly people are veterans of war, both male and female. They helped to, quite literally, save the world from Hitler and his twisted policies. They served alongside Americans in Vietnam (even if one disagrees with the reasons behind the Vietnam war, a veteran is a veteran), and countless other conflicts and battles that have shaped our world today.
It’s another matter entirely if they are rude to you, for I really do believe that everyone deserves manners and respect until proven otherwise. But the implication was that this child thought herself above anyone who had lived so many more years. Think of the stories they could tell you, the advice they would have, the insight they can give us young’uns into growing old, living a full life and being happy. Have you ever asked an old person what their biggest regret is? Go, do it. I promise you it will make you look at life in a whole new way. It’ll give you the push and the drive to live a life you’re not only proud of, but that makes you happy. And that is why older people deserve our respect. They earned it long before you or I were born.
But always remember – if they’re rude to you after you’ve been polite and respectful, it’s OK to politely remind that they’ll be dead soon, which will make you happier 🙂