Monday, August 15, 2005

If you think growing up is tough, then you're just not grown up enough.

Okay, ladies and gents, this is the first installment in a series of rants/long tyrades on different subjects. I hope to expand next onto religion, gay marriage, sex, drugs, alcohol and other nifty-ness. I'm trying to make these as civilized as possible, but remember, they're titled RANTS first, so they may spiral into a bottomless goo of jibbering and cursing.

You have been warned.

So here you are, the first installment.

Age Discrimination

There have been many times when I’ve thought to myself that the only thing holding me back from taking in my full potential is my age. Sometimes, I feel like I am an older twenty-something person stuffed into a sixteen-year-olds body. Sometimes I feel hopeless in that I will never reach my true age when I can be free. And I’m sometimes scared that even when I reach this age, I will still not be treated with the respect that I deserve.

And then I think—do I really deserve it?

We all do it. We all judge each other on age, even if it is separated by a year or a month or a decade. I know that I have looked at twelve-year-olds and thought, “My god, was I ever that young and that naïve?” And then I remember that that was only four years ago. Only four years. That is not a long time between a here and now, and it seems kind of ridiculous that that time has changed me so much.

And so sometimes I think, if I have changed so much in the last four years, where will the next four years take me? Into an age where I can vote and smoke and sign up for the military and rent porn if I want. Is that going to change me that much or am I going to remain unchanged?

And so I think and I realize that even though sometimes we think of ourselves in an age where we will not grow any more—cannot possibly grow any more for all the growing we have been doing—that we grow the most. Perhaps.

Recently I went onto one of my much-haunted forums and I read a post that inspired me to think about this particular topic. A sixteen-year-old—the same age as I—started to complain on how she makes a dollar less then those working the same job as her, doing the same work as her, and their difference to her is not their experience but their age. She wonders how it can be fair that there can be such a gap between the two years of sixteen and eighteen, and I replied with this:

You bring up many good points and as a sixteen year old, I really sympathize. And I believe that, yes, age discrimination is real and that it can be a major problem. However, I will point out a few things;

While there may be a few prime examples of teenagers that can be competent and mature even for their age, this is not the general standing. No matter how many intelligent friends of your age you surround yourself with, you must realize that we as an age group are NOT smart.

I will also say that though some of us may be intelligent, intelligent people make stupid mistakes. And as younger people with less worldly experience, we are prone to make more mistakes then those twice or three times our age. Certainly.

And yes, it is unfair. Yes, this discrimination can be completely irrational under certain circumstances, but it exists, and we have to learn to be patient. If we do not have the patients to wait until the ages that permit us our freedom, then we are not meant to have it.

I know that I have gone on my rants once in a while about the injustice of it all, and sometimes the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness of a higher standard of living washes over me, but we must learn to overcome these obstacles. Just think, if you are so smart and brilliant now, how wonderful of an adult you will turn out to be. Just be patient, and do not let it consume you. Learn to be at peace with the world as it is.

I don’t know where I got the thought to be so diplomatic to an idea to which I have been subject to many feelings of furry and senseless depression, but I found it. And I wrote that, I wrote that incredibly encouraging piece of a “live and let live” ideal. And after I read it over, I could barely believe that it came out of my own fingertips.

I have growing to do as a sixteen going-on-seventeen year old. I think that I grow in small bursts, in large burst, in a slow pull like a piece of taffy. I think that I can become a greater person by the time of my legal stature, and even though I can and will continue to be prone to fits of impatience to it all, I think that I’ve finally realized that anything worth having does not come easily, and this is definitely a prime example.


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