|Picture credit: Wurstblog.de|
The age bias
Hopefully, you will not feel let down by this article ... I struggled to find an appropriate title.
I considered calling it "old but cool" but I neither wanted to attract the "wrong" crowd nor put a label on myself and others. We all know that a sure sign of a person who is not cool is that they call themselves "cool".
No, I am not shooting at all the "influencers", "ninjas", people who wear sunglasses on their social media profile pictures and disruptors out there.
I am shooting at butchers, doctors, club owners and many others.
Age discrimination happened the first time to me when I was about 12. I am a vegetarian, but with a strong sense of fairness and equality.
In Germany, where I spent the first 44 years of my life, it is common practice that a kid who enters a butcher store receives a slice of sausage. It's like an unwritten law. You tiny? You get a slice!
Even when you are really little, the butcher (or salesperson) might walk over to your stroller, his eyes seeking the eyes of your parents to get permission TO HAND YOU A SLICE OF SAUSAGE.
Then over time, the slice gets smaller. You are puzzled but do not come to the right conclusion (like when you gained weight for the first time and did not understand how your winter coat can be shorter than last year). You have grown.
Inevitably, the day is approaching where you will not get one. It's a process. It does not happen overnight. First, you don't get a slice every time, then only if you stare at the butcher with evil eyes for quite some time until one day, finally, it's over.
No more sausage slice for you. No more grabbing in the toy jar at the doctor's office. No surprises in your menu. No cute drawing on your yogurt. No nothing. Ok, I am exaggerating but I trust you see how this is an emotionally painful topic.
Society has decided that I am "too old" for things. For a lot of things. Luckily for me, society has tons of idea what I am supposed to like now and how I can behave "age-appropriate".
It's not just sausage, oh, no!
The same applies to the way I dress, the books I am supposed to read, what's printed on my shirt (depending on if you are allowed shirts in your role at all) and if I may jump on one leg in public.
The worst thing for me is the music case. It's not as if my music taste changed to "old-fashioned" when I turned 40. It's not as if I stopped enjoying the feeling in a club when the bass penetrates your body, cleanses your brain ... you know? When you're in the "two drink" status where you are not drunk but just a little clubby.
Old people are not welcome
I am not sure we have this in the US (at least not in my area), in Germany, they have "Ü40". Once a week, people over 40 are welcomed to the club for a special party.
It's a splendid place to go if you like mainstream disco music from the 80ties and married guys trying to pick you up. The idea is great, even though it's sad that we would look like weirdos if we went to a regular club.
We never get tired of clichés, do we?
Something isn't right here.
I don't know about you, I will not have society decide which harmless things I can and cannot enjoy.
Oh and here is how I feel when you hit me with age-discriminating phrases like
- Young lady (thanks for your evaluation, my self-esteem depends on it)
- You look great for your age (you're annoying)
- You don't look 30, 40, 50 (so? What if I looked my age?)
- I like older women (interesting ...)
You know you're getting older when the question "when will you get married" changes to "why did you never marry".
Grown-ups unhappy with the self-accepted rules society dictates often go around telling other grown-ups how they should behave. Social media is a perfect outlet for judging people - from whining on LinkedIn to the worst dress lists and shaming people for who they are.
I believe that happy people do not bother with mean comments from anonymous social media profiles, gossiping and such. It's easier to point finger at others than to change so that I don't blame people for being scared to focus on their own flaws.
I thought for a minute self-marketing would not come naturally in the sausage case.
But while I am finishing up this article, I realize how I can help people and how this article on my "unprofessional" blog fits perfectly with my profession by supporting people to:
- remove the scars of painful experience from their brains with my emotional intelligence training
- develop self-esteem that allows for authenticity and being yourself with my coaching
- gain back control over their mind with my "altering the default mode network" and mindfulness training gift set
- increase their feeling of self-worth that makes them put what others want before what makes them happy
- stop judging others and become more happy with my brainwave entrainment
Bottom line: You are you, I am me. Youth is not earned and aging it not an accolade.