Growing Older Gives You Grey
I’m very sensitive to my age. I don’t like people knowing how old I am, both within my professional environment as well as my personal. Why? Because it leads to comments like “Oh but you’re still so young!” or “When I was your age…” and that really fucks me off. For a number of reasons.
The main one being, I absolutely loathe the patronising, condescending tone of what they are saying to me. The way you might gently rouse a child when they pout about bedtime. It’s not cool, and if you’ve ever made the mistake of being patronising to me then you will have experienced my wrath.
I am mature. I am grown up. I know everything. I don’t need to learn anything else, and I don’t need you telling me about your “when I was your age” stories as though our age gap is centuries apart. Right?
Except…I’m not. I’m not mature. I’m not grown up. And I definitely don’t know everything. Want to know how I know?
Because this year I grew up a little more. I gained a bit more maturity. I gained some grey.
When you’re a child, everything is pretty black and white. Right and wrong was very obvious and the world seemed a very simple place. These black and white lenses can carry you through your childhood, teenage years and right into your young adult/semi-given-responsibility ages. I’m a very black and white, opinionated person.
Fat is bad. If you’re fat, then you’re unhealthy and you should be shamed for that. I don’t even care about your feelings – you’re not a real human being. You’re just a fat lump that is too lazy to do anything about that weight and burden the rest of us with extra taxes and take up our seat space on public transport.
I’m ashamed to say, that sentence may very well have come out of my mouth once upon a time in more or less the same amount of words. Clear cut, black and white. There was no ifs or buts, that is the way it was. I wasn’t to be told, I knew what I knew.
This has changed. I can’t even pinpoint when the change began – maybe it was when my friends engaged in debates with me without being patronising. Maybe it was reading the endless amounts of articles and blog entries about the world that made my views change. Perhaps it was the fact I started taking vitamins that supposedly improve brain performace. Maybe it was when I realised the world didn’t revolve around me and I wasn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread (still trying to get over that, touchy subject). Or maybe, just maybe, I was growing up. I have been in the world longer, I have seen more; I have experienced more. My black and white lenses were slowly shifting. I was seeing grey now, too.
I think about my responses more when I’m in an argument, I pause and put myself in someone else’s shoes when I begin to judge and most importantly I have begun realising what I don’t know. My inexperience and immaturity grows clearer and clearer with each passing year, my ego shrinks little by little and with it, my respect and admiration for my seniors and mentors grows.
The irony of this is, I needed to grow up to realise that I had to grow up. I needed to start getting grey hairs, to see the grey in life (figure of speech guys, don’t actually have grey hair yet).
And I think that’s ok. I needed to have the opinions and views I did in order to reach the point I am at today, where 90% of the time I can swallow my pride and admit my wrong, or confess that I don’t know and maybe, just maybe acknowledge that “fat” people are human beings, too ;-).
I look back at my obstinate, teenage self and I feel embarrassed and cross with myself. For all my supposed maturity and intelligence, I came out with the most stupidest things sometimes. I still do, of course. But I won’t realise that until 3 or 4 years from now when I’m looking back with even more grey in my lens.
And I could apologise for those views, I could try and take them back and pretend they never existed. But that would be a discredit for how far I have come, how much I have grown, and much the same way your mum marks your height on the wall, your idiotic moments in life should be remembered always to help keep you grounded and humble.
This is more a brain dump than a structured article, so please forgive me if it reads like rubbish. I won’t be reviewing, or editing, this copy as I want to keep this as my “realisation” moment. So in 6, 7, 10 years time when I look back and read through my blog entries from this year, I can see exactly where I started self realisation. The moment I started seeing grey.