I’m sure there is probably a proper term or name for what I’m about to talk about, but I don’t know what it is, so I have given it my own name using a word that I don’t believe actually exists: Age Hierchism. Good start. Age Hierchism, It is a condition from which I suffer. It’s a condition that is based in prejudice but is (I believe) a little unusual. Ageism is prejudice against older people and is mainly something which occurs in the world of employment. My newly founded Age Hierarchism is sort of the opposite way round but it isn’t primarily about employment. I suppose it could be called ‘Youngism’ but that wouldn’t be quite right either.
I realised this morning on my walk into work through St James Park in the freezing cold, that I have a bit of a problem with people younger than me. I don’t think this is something which has just occurred recently – I believe I have always felt the same. It’s not that I don’t like people younger than me, because that wouldn’t be true. It’s more a kind of envy of people younger than me who I perceive as more successful than me I suppose. It could be described as a chip on my shoulder and is perhaps more about my own sense of failure or inadequacy. I would have a real problem for example, working for a boss who is younger than me. I’ve been on this planet longer than you so therefore I know more and am better than you… put in very simplistic terms. People younger than me should not be earning more money than me, and their role in life should not be more important than mine.
It’s difficult to explain properly and I am aware that it is not a healthy way to think. I am also aware that it makes me seem bitter and twisted (which I suppose I am). Jealousy is an ugly thing, and this is no exception. In a democratic world, this way of thinking is quite ridiculous, but I just can’t help subtly looking down my nose at these ‘youngsters’ who are forging brilliant careers for themselves and who are considered remarkable, or even just respected in their field. I’m jealous. Why couldn’t that have been me? What have I done with my life? Where did I go wrong? Where is my drive and determination to succeed? Where is my brilliance? Why haven’t I been given a break in life? Who actually cares what I think about anything? I am irrelevant. Invisible. Worthless. Boring.
Now this is probably cause for concern. This is no way to be thinking – it’s unhealthy and damaging. So how do I stop myself from thinking like this? On the one hand there is the jealousy and constant feeling of competition with every other human being that has ever existed, on the other hand it would seem that I also have some serious self-esteem issues. So do I go and see a psychiatrist? A therapist? A councilor? I tried a couple of sessions once, and though it was an interesting experience, spewing my guts to a complete stranger about things I don’t even usually discuss with myself, I realised that ultimately, I was just regurgitating what I had already figured out for myself. I need answers. I don’t need more questions.
I somehow need to get to a place where I honestly believe I don’t care about anything else apart from my own happiness and well-being. I tell myself every day that this is all I care about, and I tell everyone else that this is all I care about, and that is actually all I really do want to care about, but sadly the truth is, it isn’t all I care about. Now there’s a dilemma.