I stumbled upon a post in a public forum where the writer opined it was better for adults to get married early in order to forestall the possibility of attending Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Meetings at the age of 50. As expected, the controversial viewpoint generated varying comments from members of the group.
While a section of the group agreed with the poster’s thoughts, others frowned at it, labelling it a notion that wittingly or unwittingly put pressure on those who were yet to be married, were yet to have kids or had kids later in life.
The subject of age and milestones that should accompany them is a never-ending debate. Every day, someone somewhere is reminding us that we are getting older and should have achieved this and that.
Recruiting firms and corporate organisations cut candidates off based on their age. It doesn’t matter if the oldest applicant is the most competent, they will be disqualified because they do not quite cut the picture of a young, exciting personality who may only have youth (a factor they have contributed nothing to) going for them.
Women are reminded of their biological clock and how they should be more concerned about providing evidence of their womanhood rather than slaying when they are yet to be married at a certain age.
Social Media commentators sneer when older folks get married or remarry. They wonder why a 45-year-old woman should be tying the knot when 25-year-olds are struggling to hold down a relationship. At 45, your life should be over; at least when it comes to the romantic or sexual department.
For men, it’s the pressure of being successful and possessing money. Lots of it. As they advance in age, their value is increasingly defined by what they can bring to the table in terms of naira and kobo. Nothing else matters.
Get into a mild argument with random Jane online and she’d be quick to ascribe your refusal to see things her way to your “old age.” Young people derive pleasure in deriding the older ones. The latter’s call for a cautious and circumspect approach to issues is tagged “old school”.
Without a doubt, ageism continues to be a stumbling block to us as a society. The notion that older people are less useful or incapable of contributing to issues in a world that evolves at the speed of light is rife, which is an irony because most of the most advanced nations of the world aren’t ruled by young people.
It’s important to state that this prejudice against the elderly is more common in Africa, perhaps because they are perceived as the root cause of the repertoire of problems the continent is buckling under.
However, even the middle-aged are not left out of this bias.
Folks in their late forties to fifties are mocked for “refusing to grow old” when they jettison the agbada or iro and buba for a tank top and a pair of shorts. Their views are shouted down as being archaic when it doesn’t align with today’s way of reasoning which is premised on wokeness and not out of real conviction.
We are uncomfortable when senior citizens refuse to shrink; when they are visible and vocal and unafraid to say their piece without equivocation. And honestly, it would be laughable if it wasn’t so worrisome.
The reason is glaring: as long as their life isn’t cut short by illness, accident, fate or suicide, everybody will grow old. As your read this, you are growing older; it is inevitable. You do not have any control over it. Undergoing series of cosmetic surgeries or being blessed with great looks does not take a second out of your actual age.
Like we are inclined to say, “It is what it is!”
Ageing is a phenomenon that should be embraced, and in fact, revered because it often comes with invaluable experience and insight.
When a youngster insults the elderly for no other reason other than their advancement in years, they are implying they are disinterested in attaining that status. Another irony because most of us say the loudest “Amen” when our clergies pray we are blessed with long life.
Not sure how we can fix this anomaly, but I hope this piece helps you to see what you’re doing wrong if you’re guilty of this needless gerontophobia.