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June 15, 2013

On the Go: We can't let age define us

I hate the concept of age. I understand wanting to quantify your existence, but age is blown way out of proportion. 

Age is a restrictive box everyone is crammed into. Age definitely has a place, but I don’t think it should be such an important factor in everyday life. Ageism negatively impacts and restricts people of all ages.

Age greatly impacts the respect you get. Just because you lack wrinkles doesn’t mean you can’t have valuable wisdom and just because you have gray hair doesn’t mean your thoughts are exceptional. Some people don’t have valuable wisdom and some people do have exceptional thoughts but it isn’t contingent upon their ages, and neither should the respect the person receives.

My oldest niece was born when I was 10. My sister had a carrier that you strapped on to your shoulders to hold the baby hands-free. Sometimes when we went shopping or something similar, someone else would take a turn holding the baby. The other two aunties were 12 and 14. When one of us was holding the baby, people gave us many dirty looks. They didn’t offer to help hold the door or any other courtesies usually extended to people, in general, and especially a new mom. People were so shocked and disgusted to see what they thought was a young teen mom that they lowered the amount of respect they gave us just because we weren’t a suitable age.

Another way age impacts respect is with the word “minor.”  I can’t stand that word! It implies that people younger than 18 are not complete or worthy. This is showed in society with things such as voting age and a minor’s inability to give consent to things. I recently had a situation where consent was involved. It juggled teacher consent, doctor consent, legal consent and parental consent, but nowhere did it ask for my consent while it was concerning me. I find that a bit backwards. This teaches kids that they don’t have rights to their own bodies and lives. Minors are worthy of better treatment and a better title.

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