Let’s talk about ageism for a minute. I am the daughter of a couple that had me “late in life” or so it was considered at the time. Consequently, as I was growing up many people would think my parents were my grandparents. As a child, I would politely correct these individuals but it never embarrassed me. My 81-year-old father brought that to my attention recently. He said, “Even though many people thought we were your grandparents, you never made us feel old and I appreciate that.” Maybe I’ve been called an “old soul” before, but more than likely it was because my parents were my best friends since my siblings had all moved out by the time I was three.
However, because I’ve been around siblings the age of most of my friends’ parents and have been able to communicate with adults of various generations at an early age, I’ve always been sensitive to people discriminating against the elderly. I’ve always believed that seniors deserve respect and admiration; they’ve lived more life which makes
them excellent mentors and teachers.
Age discrimination goes both ways and generation bashing happens often for millennial’s, which includes the year of my birth. (The overarching term ‘Millennial’ refers to those born between 1980-2000.) In truth, I have endured many derogatory comments from others about my generation. These remarks have come from clients, colleagues and even community leaders. I’ve heard that my generation is easily bored and that we quickly jump from job to job. It frustrates me as I’ve never felt that people should be lumped into a category based on anything, let alone the year they were born.
In a highly argumentative world, I’m not trying to give people another reason to argue but, I can honestly say that assuming people are a certain way because they were born within a bracket of years eliminates the opportunity of an amazing relationship that could have developed had you not done so. Instead, why not choose to eliminate expectations and make a conscious decision to actively listen and learn about the individuals you meet?