Call me hypersensitive, and you probably will, but I need to clarify my thoughts about this happening at my workplace.
Two twenty-nine year olds, bantering across the office, and one called the other ‘grandma’. Subsequent much hilarity about how twenty-nine year olds need to get their sleep, et cetera,
What’s the problem with that? Well, from an employment point of view, it doesn’t look good – these two people have direct responsibility for recruitment – and I don’t like to think that CVs are casually being tossed aside with cries of “Grandma! Stick it on the wrinklies pile!”
From a personal point of view (and this is, after all, my personal forum) it made me a bit uncomfortable, what with me being seven years their senior and all. The curious thing is, 99% of the time, I don’t think twice about my age – I am what I am, and I’m happy with it – but every so often I get forcible reminders, like today, that I don’t quite fit in with the local demographic. It brings to mind again the Camus quote that I have referenced elsewhere: “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” It takes quite a lot of strength for me to keep my head down in situations like the one I have described. Perhaps it would be braver if I put my head above the parapet.
In my life I have experienced several periods of disabling depression, and the decline into these, the void itself, and the slow recovery have left me otherwise occupied at times when my peers were getting on with doing their age-appropriate thing. This has left me somewhat behind the curve when it comes to milestones such as university and seriously setting out on a career. I am not deterred, and am enriched because I know the value of my achievements, but I do occasionally feel like the Miss Havisham* of the office. (That is, decrepit, and not engaged in an age-appropriate activity.)
While Googling various vocab for potential inclusion in this post, I was trying to find some sort of neologism that would express the ‘Grandma’ generation as a collective noun – I was thinking of something like DINKY or NEET – and one of the first hits led me to this article, which lends gloomy support to some of my worst misgivings. For example, “those who wait until their 30s to get going in a ‘real’ job will never catch up”. Fab. Thanks for that, Forbes. That article did lead me to this slightly less damning site, which is promoting the term ‘Choister’ – as in, choice + [world is your] oyster = choister. They even manage to reference some Shakespeare – for the oldies, perhaps?
*To my great joy, I learned from Wikipedia that Dickens’ glorious creation is also associated with a condition known as ‘The Miss Havisham effect’ – a term that has been coined by scientists to describe a person who suffers a painful longing for lost love.