This weekend I was socializing with some random group of people and got several comments on my age. Namely, people did not want to believe how old I was. This is not in any case the first time when people feel shocked after they have found out about my age. I am usually perceived as ten or at least five years older by people who have had a conversation with me. I am not saying this to show off, it has both its negative and positive sides. The negative side is that twenties should be your time of still having this youthful and unconcerned outlook in life, which I have lost already long time ago. I have seen too many complications in life to believe that my happiness is just right around the corner. The positive side is, I am to a certain degree wiser than my age.
Faith Allen has written on being intense after childhood abuse. I have gotten similar comments from people, only it is usually expressed as me being all too wrapped up in self-analysis or making everything too complicated. I am not good in small talk, never have. I used to try to compensate it by asking people questions- people love to talk. However I am not the person who will be talking about weather or new sale on coats, it feels awkward and pretended. I understand that social norm dictates it, but somehow I always end up in the corner, talking to this one person who can have a more philosophical or personal conversation. This does not make me a super good in groups. The only reason it concerns me is, I work in an area where social networking is extremely important. I still struggle approaching random people and starting a conversation smoothly. Maybe I will get there one day (I have already bought some books on social networking).
Anyways, most of my recent friends are older than me, varying from ten to twenty years older. Today I had a lunch with two colleagues who are about my age and I found myself puzzled. Somehow their view of life seemed so naïve, that it was very difficult for me to relate to them. I suspect that it is connected to the fact that once life has beaten you down at least once or twice, you stop making very sweeping statements and judgmental evaluations on other people. You realize, that life is not that simple. I have always wondered about people who believe that “your luck is on your own hands”. I wonder where have these people grown- have they really not seen all the ghetto kids, for whom the only choice is to join a gang or try to survive on a daily basis under fear? Have they not seen kids of alcoholics who struggle to build a normal life and especially normal relationships? Or people who have psychological disorders? Put all together these people are not so much a minority anymore. If you indeed come from a family with two middle class parents that are supportive and give you a chance for education, then indeed, you learn self-discipline, you learn good values and you have money to make it for yourself. However, if you come from a family, where your parents let you know from the first day that you are loser and not good for anything, what then? Luckily, American TV has at least lately started focusing more and more on the people that had a rough childhood in a more complex and sensitive way. Unlike before, these characters are not demonized anymore or depicted as simple criminals, they have a story. One of my favorite shows which succeeds in that is “Major Crimes”. However there are still plenty of reviewers on IMDB who feel so outrageous that TV dares to show some non-Christian behavior, such as hustling, cheating, unemployment etc.
This is not to say that I argue that everything is predetermined in life. Not at all. I do think people have a chance, but for some these chances await in every corner and for others, there might be only one chance in a lifetime. Despite what we would like to think, people are not created equal nor do they have equal opportunities. This is why I have always been an advocate for compassion and understanding.