I’ve been thinking a great deal about perspective. The other day a colleague was telling me about her plans for the weekend and happened to mention her mother. She told me her mother was old and then told me she was in her 70s. My mother won’t mind me telling you that she is in her 70s also, except l don’t see her as old. I see her as young.
The topic of age comes up a great deal as people often assume l am much younger than l am. They don’t always say this in a complimentary way; sometimes they stare, usually at my neck; other times they comment subtly by referring to relatives who had their children young. I didn’t, have my children young; at least then- in the 1980s, it wasn’t considered young. I was beginning to think I’d been left on the shelf when, at, 22 years of age, l got married. I’d already bought my dress, and had been planning it for a few years with our local priest. Almost a year later l gave birth to my first child.
I don’t always give away my age. I’ve noticed that people can have ingrained prejudices based on age. Really age has nothing to do with a great many things, often perspective (which is greatly enhanced by travel), and experience, are the real teachers; this is why I’m not in a hurry to share my age with people. I don’t want to be defined by it.
Still sometimes l am tempted, especially when it is inferred that l was a teen mum. I wasn’t. I was a respectably married twenty-something when l gave birth to my first child. The irony of the previous sentence is not lost on me; l realise that in writing it, l may well be projecting society’s prejudices against young mums onto young mums just as they have been projected on to me.
I happen to be good at picking up new concepts digitally; my friend who is the same age as me doesn’t like social media and isn’t as good with the internet. We both went to the same university as mature students at the same time, still our attitudes to technology are different. This suggests that it is our nature that made us what we are with regard to tech, and neither experience nor age has anything to do with this.