Until at least the age of 25, people treat you as a child. It is assumed that because of your age, you’re not experienced or mature enough to make proper decisions, especially if you’re under 20. Yet the truth is that being young is valuable. Teenagers are a lot more intelligent than people make them out to be, and even though they don’t have as much experience as people over 60 do, their opinion is no less important, because they have certain traits that older people lack. Open-mindedness, recent education, creativity, progressive thoughts, ambition, you name it. The younger you are, the more you have of it. So then why is today’s youth constantly ignored when it comes to their thoughts and opinions?
Whenever I tell people that I have written a book, one of the standard responses is “but you’re so young.” As if that’s a reason not to write a book. Perhaps even worse are the replies my friends give, many of whom say that they also want to write a book, but not “until they’re older.” Everything we could do is postponed to a time when we’re older, even though by that time, we will have lost all that open-mindedness and all that creativity. We all seem to think that being young is a disadvantage, that growing older is somehow going to fix that.
But as this article points out, that’s wrong. By believing that being young is a disadvantage and by spreading that belief, we make it true. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you tell a 16 year-old boy that he cannot have a proper relationship because he’s too young for it, and that the love he has for a certain girl is temporary and childish, he will believe you, and he will act upon it. By not taking it seriously and experimenting with sex at way too young an age, because even though love and caring apparently don’t exist yet, sex does. I’m not making it up. It’s all in the article.
It’s discrimination based on age. Everyone knows it exists, there’s even a term for it (ageism), but it only seems to apply to older people. A 50 year old woman is the victim of ageism when she cannot get a job because young students are favoured, but the other way around, it is hardly ever used in practice. Psychologists know all about it, of course, but psychologists cannot make changes any more than we can. They call it adultism, but my spell-check doesn’t even seem to agree that that is actually a word.
The truth is that adultism is a serious issue. We need young, open-minded and creative people for all sorts of things, including politics, yet we leave those things to the elderly. Every government in this world is filled with older people, as if they are somehow more intelligent. Sure, we need older people in politics as well because their experience is valuable, but it is no more valuable than the creative and progressive thoughts the youth can bring. Those two forces need to work together, the way democracy was intended, rather than the one oppressing the other, which is what would have been done in a dictatorship.
Although it also manifests itself institutionally, adultism is a cultural problem, and the only way to address it is by making the problem known. If you consider yourself a young adult, then you can share this message and convince yourself of your own worth. You can make sure that you won’t ever use the excuse that you are “too young” for something and that you realise that your youthfulness is just as valuable as your grandmother’s experience. At the same time, if you’re from an older generation, you can make sure that you become the exception. You can become that person who encourages young adults to do what is right, regardless of how young they are. That’s all that’s needed.
Ultimately, being young is valuable, and it is something you can never get back. All those advantages will fade in the end, and that is why it is so important to use them while you still can. Express your ideals, share them with the world, and make sure you remember them, because they matter, and you won’t be able to think of them in 40 years. The time you spend as a young adult is incredibly important, so don’t waste it just because other people say you should. It’s much too valuable for that.
– Dean Richards is not liable for any mid-life crises this post may have caused –
Right, I’m sorry about that one… I definitely wouldn’t argue that being older is a disadvantage, or that you can no longer do all those things you want to do, but it’s definitely not an advantage either. This post was just meant to inspire younger generations, not to discourage the older ones!
Anyway, don’t forget to rate/share/like this post, and if you have any thoughts of your own, please do leave them in the comments! And if you’re new here? Feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates, or try having a look at the list of most popular posts!
More on this topic from Dean Richards: