My Feelings on Ageism
One of the earliest memories is of going to work with my mom. She worked as a social worker at a nursing home and when I got to go to work with her, I got to help. One of my favorite (and, let't be honest, I was so little so only jobs) was to help push the residents in wheel chairs down to the dining room for meals. I remember being so proud of myself for getting to be such a huge help and push these people down to get a meal. Now, looking back, I realize that there were always adults with me, helping me discreetly to push the wheel chairs safely and effectively.
I know. That doesn't have much to do with ageism, right? Right...and wrong. I grew up in nursing homes because my mom worked in them. They weren't ever a place that creeped me out, depressed me or anything of the sort. Walking through the halls, talking to the residents, helping them when I could, it was all normal stuff for me. I even grew up going to funerals for residents my mom worked with with her. So yea, it has a lot to do with my views on ageism.
Over the years I've gotten to know a lot of "elderly" people and I even got to see my grandmother turn 99 years old. What all of those people taught me is pretty life altering. They were among the first to tech me that everyone has a story. Every. Single. One. And by listening to those stories, I learned to appreciate what I have, how the time you were born into, where you lived and the ideals of your parents played a huge roll in who you are. I also learned that things change...sometimes quickly, and those changes that you get to see and experience first hand, they have a huge role in who you become, the views you have and how you interact with the world around you. It was through these stories, long or short, seemingly significant or not that showed me the value in those of older generations and how lucky I was to get to learn from all of their experiences before me. It's where I realized that there are so many mistakes to be made in life, we can't possibly make them all, so why not learn from the mistakes of others and try a new method. Maybe it's a different mistake...but maybe it's not.
So what about ageism? Well it depends on how you define it. If you define it by respecting and honoring older generations, finding value in what they have to share and treating them in a way that shows that respect, that shows that you honor them and value what they have to offer, then yes. I agree with it. But if it's writing a senior generation off and losing sight of what you have to gain from them, then I'm going to have to respectfully pass.
Now I know that there are a number of forms of ageism, and this is only one of them, but this is the direction my thoughts go when I hear the word, so this is the direction my writing took. But what about you? What are your thoughts? Insights? Experiences? Let us know in the comments.