I was recently having a discussion with a few people who varied in age from late 20’s to late 70’s. A lady in her late 70’s was discussing a group that she is a part of which consists of over 100 older, retired people that meet and do various activities together. Within the group, she has met some new friends and found some people she truly enjoys. She also mentioned that the group has a large number that spend all their time engaged in gossip, rumors, and complaints. They refuse to sit by certain individuals in the group, make nasty comments to others, and will go to great lengths to “one-up” the person talking. As the conversation continued, the lady said that many groups that she has been a part of in her later years were very similar. Which ultimately brought me to the question, does an older age equate to being more “grown-up”?

When people talk about the the younger generation they are often labeled as immature, rude, entitled, or lazy. I’ve wrote about this before, but many of the kids I meet and get to interact with on a daily basis are some of the hardest-working, most respectful people I come into contact with. On top of that, the idea that entitlement only exists within the younger generation is complete nonsense. Many adults who have experience in a position or have accomplished anything big or small often have a sense of entitlement that you don’t even need to hear about, you can just feel. It’s not to say that there aren’t kids who are rude, mean, or entitled- there are. The point, however, is that just because adults have a few years of experiences in their lives doesn’t make them numb to “childish” behavior.

Age doesn’t equate to maturity nor does it make an individual immune to entitlement- many times it’s actually the opposite- it blinds us to habits such as petty gossip, mindless complaints, and blatant disrespect to other people. We start to consciously or subconsciously believe that because we’ve accomplished a certain amount of things, we are more entitled to certain privileges. As humans, we are constantly evolving. Each day brings opportunity for positive growth and heightened self-awareness. Unfortunately, each day also brings opportunity to ego and mindless behavior. In order to grow we must understand that age is nothing more than a number that informs us of how many days we’ve been around. It is our character, however, that will tell us what we’ve brought to those days.

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