Monday, May 21, 2007

Ageism is Bad Mkay?

It began with a post by Dario asking oldies to layoff the young and to keep their disparaging thoughts to themselves by recognising the good that so many young people can achieve. I agree that we focus too much on the negative and left a comment but deleted much of it because my response had turned into blither and gross generalisations. Not all younlings are bad, not all oldlings are worth their weight in gold and not all baby boomers and genX’s are materialistic bastards but there are plenty in the mix. I then realised that I’m not in the mix, I don’t fit - I am generationless. I have a foot in every camp. I don’t judge people by their age, sex, religion, but I do judge them if they’re assholes or truly wonderful and I’m surrounded by buckets of both.

The older generation (basically anyone over 60) can be very pleasant but some are down right rude. Some think that with age comes priviliges, they deserve respect without having to earn it. They feel they should get attention without really needing it and some sort of red carpet treatment because they’re old. I had an aunt who constantly complained about being 'invisible' because she wasn't the centre of attention. I remember years ago doing a cave tour with ClareBear who wouldn’t have been more than 3 years old. I’d propped her up on a rock shelf so that she could see the pretty stalagtite illuminations only to have her knocked off, literally shoved and quite violently by a little lady in a blue rinse so that she could occupy the coveted spot. I trod on her toe on the way out and moved her walking stick while she enjoyed the view.

I’ve been run over by those bloody three wheeler motor bikey pensioner thingies with little orange flags protruding from the back, more times than I care to remember. They’re allowed to drive the contraptions inside the shopping centre – at speed – I might add and are a bloody liability. Almost as bad as the yummy mummies and their three wheeler jogging strollers.

Worse still, I was recently psychologically brainwashed into making a significant donation because an old guy with a Cancer Council bucket puffed through the office saying he was going to walk 25 kms if we’d sponsor him. Blackmail to the most terrible extent, of course he scored!

Then there are people like my parents-in-law who took on basically bringing up one of their nephews despite being in their 70’s and keeping the other two off the streets and away from the gunga. I keep in regular contact with them because they’re not just the grandparents of my own children but lovely, genuine, funny people who have worked hard, cared about others and are now enjoying their retirement in the sun.

Boomers and Gen X
We’re supposed to be the me generation. The ones who benefitted from the post war boom. The space race, dishwasher, the-four-wheel-drive-mother’s-of-invention-generation. I don’t fit with my generation. I don’t aspire to retire and play tennis on Thursdays or golf on Tuesdays. I will never buy a caravan and hold up traffic on the Pacific Highway in far north Queensland. I will never use my voice to berate someone or talk over them in a patronising manner. I don’t want to dress my age, I don’t like listening to tired old hits of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s (with a few exceptions) and I don’t think that U2 and Sting are the legends they’re proported to be. I don’t want to discuss my aches and pains or the trials of staying in a tired relationship. I love men, I value men, so why would I have an affinity with someone who harps on about their husbands’ failings. I care about environmental economics and taking responsibility for faults. I care about treating others with dignity. I don’t want to keep up with the Joneses. I particularly have a problem with people who use their age as an excuse for not doing things. “I’m to old to learn how to use a computer . . .”. “I don’t know how to start the lawnmower . .” . . for crying out loud have a go at actually doing something yourself. Change that lightbulb . . . add some RAM to your hard drive . . .learn how to set the timer on your DVD (Gawd did I really say that - I still can't use auto text on my mobile!)

Gen Y
I have been known to give Gen Y a metaphorical thumping in terms of reliability at work, ethics, honesty etc. but I think basically they have the formula right. They don’t put up with poor pay and/or conditions, they understand life balance. The only down side is that there’s a whole generation (in Australia anyway) who has only ever known prosperity. We’ve had 10 years of a conservative liberal government, low interest rates, low unemployment . . these are halcyon days for the younger generation. The shit will really hit the fan if intest rates keep climbing, the arse falls out of Chinese industrialisation and the economy begins to decline. Hey, by the time it does that, the Emo’s will be wearing pants around their wastes and donning short back and sides. The surfies will have cut their hair and learned about shoes, the metro males will be trading their pink Ralph Lauren’s for a navy pin stripe suit and the rednecks will have realised that mullet is a fish, not a haircut . . . and I’ll be a toothless granny . . .saying things like “I remember in my day . . . .” Ah, youth is wasted on the young . . .


Dario Sanchez said...

So my age bracket in Australia ...

Instead of jocks and skobies, you have surfers and emos? Cool. I'd take those any day.

Baino said...

Nah we have scobies only don't call them that. Lebanese usually in oversized trakkydaks and hoodies talking like US rappers and giving weird handshakes, they drive doof doof cars. Got geeks too. Jocks? Sporty types?

Dario Sanchez said...

Yeah, rugby or GAA players with a high opinion of thhemselves.

Seriously, they have egos that Atlas would struggle to lift.