We have our resident blogger on the evils of racism, but I’m not going to put that much effort into it, so just a Discussion.
For me to enter a club in Worcester means that I get stared at, at best, or sometimes threatened. I am expected to join the other old guys in the cricket club and talk about cars, gardens or sports. Apart from my daughters and a few of their close friends, topics of conversation with young people are very limited – they get uncomfortable and start looking at me strangely, and they are clearly not interested in my experiences or opinions.
In China I can go anywhere and not feel out of place. I can talk with people of all ages, get listened to and argued with. They are not uncomfortable with me and are interested in what I have to say.
Honestly now, how do you feel about being with and talking to old people? What subjects are OK, and which taboo? Do you believe that old people were young once and can remember what it was like?
To make it more interesting you could add your nationality and your age [YCGs may subtract five years].
Younger Generation – Lovin’ Spoonful :
Why must every generation,
Think their folks are square?
And no matter where their heads are,
They know that mom's ain't there.
I can give examples of young, interesting people and young, boring people too. What I'm asking about is whether you feel that there is a causal link in your mind.
I should have excluded parents and close family from the general group of "old people", but I think that the whole "why aren't you married?" issue is a question of background. So most of the older people have a background which means that a girl must be married to survive in the World, but I think that rural girls of 20 would share the view that you have failed in what should be your prime objective in life.
I think you made some very good points but I think many of the younger people that would be of this mindset you wouldn't be interested in talking to anyway. Just put it down to immaturity. I like to think I treat people's age as if it's irrelevant, but I have to admit I have never really had friends who are 60+. Many who are 40+ though. I definitely agree with you when you say that the expat community generally is less age sensitive. That is because we are perhaps not as restrained by the "social norms" of our home societies.
I was actually talking to my father, who is 50 and works as a DJ, about this very subject a few days ago. He said that he is now almost a novelty act and he is worried he may struggle to get work in the next few years because of his age. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of music and is far better than most half his age. He knows he will still get bookings for weddings etc through referrals and the fact people getting married now are older than they used to be, but clubs are a different story.
The problem is I believe Ageism is actually on the rise. When I worked as a headhunter, It was obvious companies had made great strides in equal opportunities with regards to race, sexual orientation, gender equality and disability to an extent, but ageism was alive and well. One of my candidates actually sued a manufacturer when he was denied a job on the grounds of his age (and the hiring manager stupidly let this slip to me)
This does work both ways though,it is annoying to hear young people having little respect for older people but it is equally annoying to hear the older generation lambasting the young.
I think that people don't change in maturity much beyond the age of about 30, but can still gain in the breadth of experience, providing that they have matured into a character that can accept new experiences. I certainly think that the range of people I've met in my travels are quite different from those who still never left my home village and never been further than the Costa Brava.
The best transport economist I ever met told me that by the time he was in his late 60s her couldn't get work any more. We employed him on a few jobs after that time and he was as sharp and hard-working as ever, but his age was against him.
It's not possible for me to judge whether ageism is increasing. Sure I see a lot more of it than I did 15 years ago, but then I'm 15 years older.
A surprisingly considered response from one so young.
Chinese, 5+ :-p
It's fine to talk to some elder people if I know them. In lots of situations, I won't talk to elder people that I don't know.
Older people can give a very direct and useful guidelines, most of them that I knew can be very tolerant and understanding ( of course not all of the older people, some can be really mean ).
All in all, I like to talk too. Older people is OK to talk to, and I also have a lot of people who's around my age to talk to.
I won't talk to elder people that I don't know.
The point is - will you talk to younger people you don't know? Are you deciding who to talk to because of their age? There are reasons for talking to people of similar age, but I'm talking about subjects that are ageless.
Well, I have to say normally I won't talk to people that I don't know.
I am fine to talk to people about subjects that are ageless.
I reckon baby-boomers had it a lot easier in terms of getting onto a career ladder and the property ladder. So some are less sympathetic than they should be to teenagers and twenty-somethings who are struggling.
I agree with this statement being post gen x'er (post baby boomer) I understand just what today's kids are going through finding work.
I've talked a bit about the employability of old people above. We are a great resource, particularly in places like China where they are facing problems that no longer exist in the West, but which we had to face 40 years ago.
I think in the career-path issues you may not be comparing like with like. When I started at University in 1965 less than 5% of the population were doing so, and only a tiny proportion from a working class background. The large majority were leaving school at 16 and going into the factories or similar. They tended to live at home a lot longer than people do now and had just as much trouble building a life for themselves.
As I am 'old' myself, I'd rather be in the company of 'oldies' than the young ones who think I don't understand because I'm not young like them. Well, actually, in my case the young ones are more shy and respectful than "oh, you're from another planet, you won't understand...". It's just so amusing to observe them and say to yourself, "Gosh, was I that foolish, naive, and silly when I was their age?"
the young ones who think I don't understand because I'm not young like them.
I'm not sure if the bolded piece is referring to all young ones, or is defining those whose company you avoid. I find many [Chinese] young ones think that I will understand because "I've been that and done that" - generally any tale of their ignorance and stupidity I can top with one of my own, which makes the conversation flow.