The Age Paradox

An internal perception and external response

chel writes
Modern Women

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Photo by Paula Prieto on Unsplash

Age is just a number — or so say many people.

But somehow, I just don’t quite agree with it. As I walk through the corridors of time, I can’t help but notice the stark contrast between how I perceive my age and how the world responds to it. There’s a dissonance — a subtle but undeniable difference — between my inner sense of self and the external reactions from society.

My perception of age

Age, to me, feels more like a tapestry woven from experiences, dreams, and aspirations rather than a mere number on a timeline. It’s a fluid concept that dances to the rhythm of my life’s journey. Sometimes, I feel the weight of years gone by, enriched by the lessons learned along the way. Yet, more often than not, I find myself buoyed by a youthful exuberance — a sense of curiosity and a hunger for new adventures.

My perception of age is shaped by the richness of experiences, the depth of emotions, and the wisdom gained through the highs and lows. It’s a mosaic crafted by personal growth, evolving perspectives, and a relentless pursuit of self-discovery. My age isn’t merely a chronological marker; it’s a reflection of the stories I carry within me.

Society’s response

Contrastingly, society’s response to age often feels rigid and predefined. There’s an unspoken set of expectations and stereotypes that encase individuals based on their age bracket. It’s as though there’s a predetermined script dictating how one should act, think, or look at different stages of life.

There’s a pervasive undercurrent of ageism — a subtle bias that seeps into various facets of life. In professional settings, there might be assumptions about my capabilities based on age. In social interactions, there’s sometimes an invisible barrier created by societal norms and stereotypes. The world around me often seems to paint a picture of what it means to be ‘young,’ ‘middle-aged,’ or ‘old,’ confining individuals within these boxes.

In my twenties and not even done yet, I’ve already faced annoying comments like, “Why aren’t you married or starting a family?” My response? A forced smile that screams, “Can you please not?”

The expectations people have about my twenties can really get on my nerves sometimes.

The origin of disparity

This disparity between my internal perception of age and society’s response emanates from deeply ingrained societal constructs. Media, cultural norms, and historical stereotypes perpetuate unrealistic ideals of youthfulness, feeding into the pressure to defy aging. Ageist attitudes, often unconsciously adopted, shape the way people perceive and interact with individuals of different age groups.

Welcoming change

This month is my birth month, by the way. A start of a new age. And I often think, what would I like to change?

It’s a question that lingers at the core of this dichotomy. I yearn for a world where age is celebrated as a mosaic of experiences and wisdom rather than confined by stereotypes. A world where the value of an individual transcends the number of years they’ve lived.

I dream of a society where age isn’t a barrier but a bridge — a bridge that fosters intergenerational understanding, mutual respect, and collaboration. A world where each person’s unique journey is honored, regardless of the chapter they find themselves in.

The disparity between my internal perception of age and society’s response is a reminder of the work that lies ahead. It’s a call to challenge ageist attitudes, break free from stereotypes, and foster inclusivity. It’s a call to create a world where the richness of experience, the vigor of youthfulness, and the wisdom of age coexist harmoniously — a world where individuals are valued not for their age, but for the depth of their character and the contributions they make.

And perhaps, through collective efforts, this dream can transcend into a reality — a world where age becomes a canvas painted with vibrant colors of diversity, wisdom, and boundless possibilities.

Thank you for journeying your time through these words. If you’d like to show support, you can leave a tip below (next to the subscribe button) or you can buy me a coffee here. Wishing you safety and warmth!

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chel writes
Modern Women

write articles and personal thoughts. publish drafts regularly. sometimes in english or indonesian :)