I decided long ago that I would no longer age. I “Level Up” now. Each year conquered, I view as simply another level. This way, aging is less daunting.
It’s not that I really care about the number. It’s just that everybody else does.
I am convinced that agism is the new homophobia. People don’t give a rat’s about your sexual orientation any more – but gain a few creases on your face, or let your grey roots pop out to see the sunshine, and suddenly you become both controversial and obsolete at the same time.
In that respect, agism is probably worse than homophobia, or even racism, for that matter. At least if you were somehow different in skin colour or partner preference, you were somewhat of a threat to the norm. When you start showing your age, people just overlook you. You cease to be relevant. You disappear.
This is even more prevalent in this modern era, where preteen girls are sporting makeup, and mini versions of fashion meant to highlight the assets of young women. Poor kids. They’re obsolete by 25 these days.
I cringe when I hear people over 40 facing redundancy, and they’re spouting the standard lines fed to them by those banal outsourced HR consultants, brought in by management to convince them their life is about to take a wonderful turn. Bullshit, it is. These HR zombies are akin to disaster cleanup crews, so that the doors can open tomorrow without having to step over the debris. The bald truth is, despite your years of experience, if you don’t have contacts in high places, you’re embarking on a heart-aching, gut-wrenching couple of years of anguish and uncertainty.
The zombies start out rebuilding your CV, and one of the first things they tell you is to cut out all but the last decade or so of your work history. It’s not relevant any more. Too ancient history. So you manage to snag an interview, and some 20-something kid shuffles uneasily in their chair across the desk. They were expecting someone younger, based on that work history. Someone without creases.
Then there’s the birthday minefield to tiptoe through. Well-meaning younger friends say “It’s just a number!” with awkwardly disguised sympathy for what they perceive as an ailment, rather than an achievement.
Older friends, on the other hand, buy you a birthday card with an obscenely large number printed on the front … or even worse, one of those “I’m 40 (50, 60) and FABULOUS!” badges. And they insist you wear it. They hug you in congratulations, but inside they bear a devilish grin, and rub their hands together in glee. Now they don’t feel so alone and pathetic themselves. These ones say “Welcome to the pension club! ”
Stick your pension club. I got me a lot more living to do.
No, I don’t do birthdays anymore. I just level up. I know how the world works, new wars don’t scare me into foolish political decisions, and interest rate changes don’t find me giving a shit about my diminishing bank balances. I welcome every year’s end with smiles, pride and peaceful knowledge.
… and more creases. X-)