Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Act Your Age...

You know when people make those throwaway comments with a bite? The ones that they toss at you glibly, but underneath is a slightly vinegar tone, that tells you that it means more than they want you to believe?


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Well I had one of those come my way yesterday. I was telling someone about how much fun I have at the first Friday of the month BTUB events. To which the little comment came back "What, don't you like spending time with people your own age anymore?" It was said in a jesting tone, but with just enough vinegar to alert me to the fact that the commenter was clearly getting a dig in. I didn't comment on it at the time, but I've been thinking about it.

Firstly, yes, BTUB is a Twitter group. Oooooh, people from the internets! Watch out that they're not all weird stalkers and child pornographers, won't you? I meet with folks from the internet all the time. Have been doing so now for about a decade, and before that I was meeting with penpals I made through things like Rolling Stone magazine and even earlier, Dolly magazine. I'm still alive. I've not yet been stalked (that I know of) and other than a few annoying people (far less than I've met through my workplace and other "real life" events), I've not had any really bad experiences.

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Secondly, it's a pretty mixed age group. The youngest I can think of is about 20, and they range to maybe up to a decade older than I am. Maybe more (you know, some folks have the youthful gene). I read somewhere that more than 60% of Twitter users are over 35. I'm just a teensy bit over 35 myself.

However, yes, there are a lot of people who are "BTUBbers" who are under 30. Most of the people I seem to have clicked with the most are under 30. And personally, I don't care what someone's age is, it's just a number of years they have rotated around the sun.

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But one thing I am noticing is, that the reason I tend to gravitate towards those younger than my own generation, is that I find them refreshingly different to my "peers" so to speak. Now I am generalising here, and I am not saying that EVERYONE of my age or older fits the cookie cutter. But I have made a few observations about the people I find myself surrounded by lately, which I will share with you all.

Less cynicism. Nothing bores me more than cynics trying oh-so-hard to be cool and detached. Sneering at anything goofy, joyful, silly, entertaining or God forbid, popular. I love being around people who see fun in life, who enjoy things simply for the pleasure they give, rather than some lofty ideal or to impress others. It's so much more pleasant to be around.

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Willingness to change/learn. The day I stop learning is the day I stop living. There are times I am wrong. I like to discover more about myself, others and the world. I like those who feel the same way. I like those who are eager to try new things, in the same way I am. That doesn't mean I don't like old favourites too, but I don't want to ever find myself in a rut.

Thinking outside the cookie cutter. Whether it be in clothes, music, books, movies, I don't want to ever find myself not trying something new. Or shunning something that is geeky or nerdy or not in fashion, just because it's pretty or fun or pleasant. I don't want to find myself wearing a "uniform" of clothes because it's what everyone else wears. I want to admire silver boots and purple tights and Dr Who scarves and blue dyed hair. I want to eat cupcakes in the park, or get dolled up and go to high tea, rather than stand around a barbecue with a chardy while the blokes have a beer and turn the sausages, talking about what the kiddies did at kindy or what the boss said at work.

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One I've noticed from the guys: not intimidated by a woman who is independant, outgoing and confident. Oh so many guys of my generation and older like to whinge how they want an independant woman, how they want an outgoing lady with confidence but only find women who want them to pay their mortgage and tell them what to do. But when they meet a woman with confidence, they run a fucking mile. And tell their mates what a ball-breaking, aggressive bitch she is. It's refreshing to find guys who aren't bothered a jot about an outgoing, independant woman, who mostly see it as normal.

And finally, a willingness to go out of their way to show caring for each other. I think it's part of the cynicism, but I am wearied by people who like to call themselves friends, but won't inconvenience themselves for their friends. And I mean inconvenience, not at anyones expense. I'm not talking handing over your life savings, I'm talking about letting someone know you are there to listen, even though you have your own busy life. Some time ago I found myself surrounded by people who were more than happy to have me put in all the effort in a friendship, but the minute I showed any sign of need myself... well, you could hear the crickets chirping. Over the past year or so, I've found myself gathering a lovely tribe of people who give as well as receive, and yes, most of them are indeed younger than I am.

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Anyway, I'm not saying everyone over 35 is boring and restricted and selfish. You know how I hate generalisations. And perhaps it is skewed by the fact that I'm meeting people who are interested in the same things I am (but I am including those I meet through work, other friends and such as well). However, for a long time, I felt tired and bored and I've changed my method of socialising, to one which happens to include people of all ages. But yes, I am often, but not always, drawn to those who are younger than I am because they're not so caught up in appearances and and what other people think.

I'll probably get a few of those barbed comments for this too... *wink*!

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9 comments:

lilabris said...

It might be cliched but the adage that 'age is just a number' is so true. For me, there are two people at uni in particular who I've become really close to. I've spent the last 2-3 yrs almost every day during semester with and they're a 21 yr old guy and a 26 yr old girl. I've also noticed it's easy for me to get along well with the lecturers too and they'd have to be in their 40s and 50s. It's all about attitude not age.

Some people who are older than me look down on me as though I'm still a child. What could I possibly know? How could I possibly understand what they're going through? THEY HAVE MORTGAGES TO DEAL WITH AFTER ALL. It causes a barrier between generations that doesn't need to exist.

That's one really awesome aspect of twitter and BTUB. You are judged on what you think and what ideas you express rather than what you look like or how old you are.

Sleepydumpling said...

Tsk! Lilabris, you are SO immature! *giggle*

We have a good decade and a bit between us, and I consider you one of the coolest people I know, who's company I enjoy more than most people. I couldn't give a toss how much younger you are than I me. You're just luvverly.

I still get the whole thing of being treated as a child too, but that's probably because I am single and childless, how could I possibly know the REAL issues in life? I also get treated as a child because I choose to spend as much time in life with a smile on my face, a laugh on my voice and enjoyment in my heart.

lilabris said...

mmhmm, do you know what? It's only been recently that I've realised academics/career are not the only important things in life. And I think it has coincided with me being happier. I act more immaturely and sillier now than I did when I was younger but I love it. I think it also has to do with knowing who you are.

I know I'm an intelligent, caring, good-natured adult, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to smile and laugh as much as possible during.

sleepyjane said...

Gah, I don't even know where to start.

Age really IS just a number. I like people I have things in common with, wether they're 50 or 15. It's not even an issue. And for the people that is IS an issue - they can suck it.

You surround yourself with people you enjoy being with. Not ones "society" dictates you to be around.

Age group, smage group.

TribeRingers said...

*Sigh*, does it matter what age people are if you share the same interest?

It still seems OK for 'older' men to marry younger woman but woman who do the same now have the moniker of 'cougar!'

I say hang with who ever brings a smile to your face even when you are no longer in their presence - that's a great friend!

Flibbertigibbet said...

You know, I was stalked. By someone from the real world. Of all the dozens of people I met online, not one of them stalked me either.
I did have a couple of bad experiences with net meets, but I take the blame for that and ignoring my own common sense - but they were only uncomfortable, not in any way dangerous!

One of my best friends, who I've lost touch with since I moved sadly, was over a decade older than me and she was always to be found down at the front of gigs bouncing around with me. I used to totally forget we weren't the same age.
It just doesn't matter.

It's the person that you're friends with. I can have an illuminating conversation with my friends 7 year old or my 70 year old father!

Sleepydumpling said...

You know, one of my oldest (in the sense that I've known them the longest), dearest, most favourite people in the world is 10 years and 23 days older than me.

We met almost 20 years ago, when I was a young-un of 17 and he was 27. And we were as thick as thieves from the moment we met.

Megan I hear what you're saying, it's such a double standard that it's acceptable for men to date a girl of 18 regardless of their age, but women seem to get called all kinds of unpleasant names if they are with a man that's even a couple of years younger than they are.

Lilabris - big life lesson for me - you work to live, not live to work. There is so much more to life than work!

The Chicken said...

Great post, lots to think about. I think I was talking to you at my very first #btub. I must say I was TERRIFIED. I may tweet a lot, but I'm usually pretty quiet and a bit shy, even though I've met a few people from TEH INTERNETS before.

But I ended up having a great time, so who cares whether it came from the internets or not, right?

On the topic of age...

... You know what? Wearing Docs and eating cupcakes sounds like my absolute perfect idea of adulthood. It's good to hear that becoming an adult doesn't have to be boring. Hope my purple Docs last for another ten years then!

Sleepydumpling said...

The Chicken, I often feel bad because I'm usually under the influence of various liquid mood adjusters, and meet so many people and am too bloody drunk to remember! But I usually meet them again, or follow them through Twitter and meet them properly later.

I want purple docs!