When we say the words ‘ageism’ we might think of 60 plus, or 50 plus, maybe even 40 plus people being disrespected simply for being older. However, in recent years particularly, it seems as if many of us are bearing the brunt of premature ageism as well as more general, traditional ageism.
With TikTok causing a boom in social media and thus popular culture, we have entered into a late 60s-esque cultural tone which puts the teen on the pedestal. Fashion trends, cultural trends and media presence are being catered more and more towards the teen. Forbes’ 30 under 30 list also causes more and more pressure for a generation left without much hope. The Guardian even posted a viral article a couple weeks ago stating that the UK has never in its history had so many childless women under 30.
What’s more, young Gen Zers and millennials can barely afford to purchase a property in their own hometowns, COVID has created job losses and Brexit has prevented many from being able to uproot their lives with as much ease as before. This leaves more and more young people between the ages of let’s say 21 and 30 fear ageing and being ashamed of age due to not having succeeded in the ways that they imagined they would have by X age or landmark.
Realistically, these pressures are a myth. Sure, Forbes 30 under 30 list is impressive, but the actions of these entrepreneurs would be just as impressive if they met the same goal by 40 or 50. Furthemore, many of those on that list were given a head start by wealthy family members who could invest or simply pure luck and that shouldn’t denote the worth of their actions but privilege should be spoken about with authenticity as to paint a more egalitarian picture.
The pressure needs to be taken off the pedal and more positive vernacular surrounding ageing but while we wait for that to happen on a greater scale, let’s take some measure ourselves. First and foremost, your goals can be reset and met at any age and they’ll be just as enjoyable. Age is not an indicator of worth. If society tells you that by 30 you should be living a corporate life and not challenging the narratives of a status quo then just imagine how much you’ll regret not having ‘gone for it’ – be it an artistic, professional or personal goal – later down the line.
So the next time you hear yourself or a friend say “I’m too old to grow my business on TikTok”, “I’m too old to move countries and meet the person and career of my dreams” “I don’t have enough time left to reach for that thing I’ve always wanted” – wake up, smell the coffee and remember it’s never too late. Fearing ageing will only inhibit you and what we want is to empower ourselves.
We also recommend checking out 32-year-old YouTuber Sorelle Amore’s video on this topic which inspired us to write this article.