When a baby is six months old, it is celebrated when it can sit on its back without support. Parents are always watching, with their eyes almost blinded with tears of joy. There are other things also that make parents happy at this age. Among them are; when the baby begins to string vowel sounds, when the baby begins to respond to its name, and when the baby begins to take solid foods. The experts call them milestones that are to be expected for this age period.
At one year, of course, the expected miles stones have shifted to; standing, crawling, or speech development, among others. If the child does not develop any of the milestones for the relevant age period, then they (parents) will be worried and seek medical advice. Parents will always be keen to compare their children with their siblings, and other children from neighbors, or close family friends.
From a young age, the expectation of what one is supposed to be able to do is already set. So, there are expectations set before the baby is born, after it is born, and all the while when it is developing. When the baby is all grown, and begins to make friends, and even join elementary school, the comparison is used to judge growth, and social acts and performances. When they finally begin to have advanced classes, one will be labeled as either, slow learner, or quick learner.
Some kids take longer to adjust, and learn, while others take a shorter time to adjust. There obviously is some uniqueness within us all. I may have taken a while to talk about babies, but the main point that I am driving at is age. For many, age is used as a measurement for whether you are on the right track in life, or not. But this is your life, how can you be late for your own birthday party?
Society has defined milestones that are to be achieved at particular age periods, and this is used as a standard measure for us all. Parents are always worried that their kids will join school when they are older than their peers. The older kids are always treated in a way to make it obvious to them, that they are already late for something in life. This thing we call age is used against them. Shame is what develops for those kids who are treated in such a way. It affects the confidence of the victims to a bigger extent. They will always be careful not to be on the wrong side of the rules, or else their age is announced to everyone.
Earlier on in life, I happened to change schools and was subject to retaking a class, because the teachers at the new school thought that I was not adequately prepared for the class, or grade, in question. It was so obvious to me that the other kids were younger than me. If I ever made a mistake the teacher would give me the looks to mean, ‘seriously, even you?’, although they did not say it out openly. Throughout my primary and secondary life, I was never open about my age.
It was already made open to me that I was a year, or two, behind my classmates. At this rate, if one were to fail the test and be made to retake a certain class, then I am sure they would be depressed. In this society you are expected to have completed school at a certain age, after that, what follows is a job, then getting married and starting a family. It is the way in most places. The cycle is followed as if life depends on it. If you ‘delay’ at a certain stage, people begin to shake their heads and talk in hush tones. This, however, is for those who cannot face you and talk openly.
There are those who will be covert about it, and come telling you of how the culture has always been from the time of their forefathers. It took me a long time to convince myself that age was in my favor, and could not be used against me anymore. When I finally accepted myself, I knew that I was always in control of what I chose to believe in. In my day-to-day life, I still meet people who are clinging to the issue of age, they keep telling me what I should do, or what I should have done at a certain point in time.
People will always have an opinion of you versus your age, and whatever stage you are in, in life. What is clear though, is they cannot take charge of your life. You are the one responsible for your life. As much as they talk, all that matters is your opinion about yourself first and foremost.
This age-comparison-expectation issue is deep within the roots of society, and it cannot be uprooted now, but it is up to us to teach others that they are in charge of their life. They decide. It is their own individual choices that matter most.
You, dear reader, have a responsibility to respect the choice, and opinion, of others. You also have the responsibility to make your own choice, choices that feel right for you, and mean something to you. Please give yourself enough love regardless of this ‘age matrix’, age noise! Now, this is the outer noise that you are supposed to reduce, and tune in to the inner voice. How often do you listen to yourself dear one? Please make it a habit to listen to your inner voice, before that of others.
If you love yourself just right, you will be easy on yourself, and give yourself as much compassion and care. Define for yourself what age means, and live by that definition. Set your own goals. Societal goals do not always consider our uniqueness sometimes. Dear one, love yourself and enjoy life. You are limitless. Not even age can limit you, because whatever you desire, will come at the right time.
With much love, from my heart to yours! Namaste.