It happens all the time: young people complaining about getting older. Maybe your 23-year-old cousin posts this on Facebook: “B-day coming up. I hate getting old!” Or your new co-worker tells you she’s 32 and follows it up with, “I know, I’m an old lady.” Or even one of your close friends makes the comment, “Getting old sucks,” while you awkwardly try not to be offended because you’re the same age. I’ve been guilty of all of this, too.
This false idea that getting older is a bad thing is not innate. We were not born with this ideology—it was learned. And just like that annoying song that gets stuck in your head after hearing it 1,000 times on the radio (I’m looking at you, “Moves Like Jagger”), I have a firm belief that modern-day advertising and media have glorified youth to the point that the message has been ingrained in our skulls. “Getting old is bad and scary,” says the executive sitting in a swivel chair petting his hairless cat, “Now give us all your money and we will ‘fix’ you!”
Well, the joke is on them, because we know our self-worth is not measured simply by our age! Am I right, ladies? So, for those of us who are getting older (i.e. every living thing on planet Earth), I’ve compiled a scientific* list of reasons why we need not complain about the natural progression of life.
*This list is in no way, shape, or form scientific.
1. Because getting older is awesome!
You grow smarter, happier, and more accomplished. You become a more secure person. And if you’re lucky enough to call yourself a senior citizen, you get all kinds of sweet perks! No speed minimum, great discounts, free seats on the bus, no TSA pat-downs, and you can kiss anyone on the cheek and it’s not weird. (OK, it’s a little weird.)
2. Because seriously, you’re bumming the rest of us out.
Growing older is inevitable. There is no such thing as “anti-aging.” The noble creators of health and beauty ads have lied to us. Shocking, I know. As far as we know, vampires and immortality do not exist on this planet, so complaining about the natural progression of life is not going to make your, or anyone else’s, day better.
3. Because you’re actually insulting a lot of people around you.
When you complain about getting older, you are basically saying that anyone older than you are, at this very moment, sucks. Well guess what? There are a LOT of people who are older than you are right now. And they don’t suck. (Ok, some of them do, but NOT because of their age!) It just doesn’t feel good on the receiving end to hear someone complain about what you are. Check your privilege!
4. Because you are setting an example and perpetuating a myth.
Think about the people who are younger than you. If they are constantly receiving the message that getting older is a bad thing, they will start putting a huge irrational value on age. They will also think you suck (because you said so yourself), and you do NOT suck!
Don’t buy into (and perpetuate) the media brainwashing we are subjected to. Getting older does not make you obsolete. I don’t care what Walt Disney taught you. Women over 40 make up a large portion of our population. They are relevant, beautiful, smart, sexy, funny, and important. I believe that we are all smart enough not to buy into the misrepresentations that are thrown at us via the TV/Internet box.
5. Because you will get older.
Unless you are a statue, in which case—you rock! Hey-oh! (Please don’t leave.) You may not live to be 100, but you will get older. It’s happening as we speak. Embrace it, learn it, live it, love it.
6. Because using “older” as a derogatory word makes you sound cray.
It’s unnecessary, and doesn’t make a lot of sense when you think about it. Being older means your survival skills rock—you are probably even better at life than you were when you were younger, because of all you’ve experienced. And if you really want to hurt someone’s feelings, don’t. That’s mean. Why would you do that?
7. Because it’s not a competition.
A competition is something that requires skills, wit, bravery, perseverance, etc. Being younger than someone requires none of those things. If you feel compelled to brag about something—go for it! Just brag about something you actually achieved, like getting two A’s and a B on your midterms! BOOM! You go girl! *self-five*
Instead of complaining about getting older on our next birthday, let’s celebrate everything we’ve learned during the past year, and the fact that we get the insane privilege of traveling around the sun one more time as human beings. Seriously, you could’ve been a slug, or a candy bar wrapper or something. So go! Be excited about getting older. Let’s change the status quo.
Sandi Kloosterman is a 26-year-old introvert. She’s a film student by day and a radio DJ by night. She enjoys music, comedy, and food. One day she hope to have a career doing what she loves most: sleeping in and binge-watching Netflix. You can follow her on Twitter @SandiKloo.