Old? – on being 48, feeling 19 and why attacks on bing ‘woke’ are not really new

In am 48 years old. When I turned thirty I had lunch with my mum. I said to her ‘I might be thirty but I feel 19.’ My mum, who at the time was in her late fifties, said ‘yes. Me too.’ This was quite an eye opener for me as I considered my mum quite old. Now I am 48 – getting closer to my mum’s age at the time – and I certainly don’t feel old, and yes, I still sort of feel 19! 

Age is an odd thing. It is probably the only area of privilege / disadvantage where both ends of the spectrum can experience disadvantage. Young folks and old folks alike can face ageism. It is also something which is relative to where you are at a particular point in your life. I remember thinking thirty five was really old but now I think of thirty five as young! 

People around my age and older often find ourselves being nostalgic for earlier times. People can think that things were somehow better when we were younger. This is not new and has been going on forever. We can also get a bit judgey abbot younger people! I know I do and I absolutely hate it. I am always open to listen to new and different ideas and I really don’t like being ageist when I catch myself doing so. I think a lot of autistic people who are older can be more ‘young at heart’ and relate better to younger people

I actually quite like being older. People seem to listen to my opinion more and not dismiss me so much. I look considerably younger than I actually am which has fed into this. However, I am aware that as I get older still this will probably change. Assigned female at birth older people are often on the receiving end of being ignored due to their age. I guess I have that to look forward to!

As a transgender person I am grateful to be free of the transphobic prejudice which some older people have. Although this bigotry is not confined only to older people and older people can be inclusive and respectful around gender diversity – just look at my awesome parents who seem almost entirely free of bigotry and have oodles of love and respect for me! However, it does seem to often be younger people who are more respectful and understanding around gender.

And now it’s time for my age-related soapbox… When I was a young person there was criticism around ‘political correctness’. Political correctness was often seen as a bad thing. This was actually just a way to attack people from groups facing disadvantage and be racist, ableist, transphobic etc. We now has the terms ‘woke’ and ‘cancel culture’ which to my understanding are similar things to ‘political correctness’. Sadly some people do not seem to have moved on from when I was a young person and use these terms to attack people and to be bigoted. I fail to understand how it is a good thing to be disrespectful or bigoted and I fail to see how sticking up for folks and being a genuine ally is a bad thing.

I just want to sign off with saying I like who I am at 48. I don’t actually feel any age as a ‘number’ but I have done some good things in my life and I am working to leave a positive legacy, make a difference and generally rock the casbah and so forth :). 

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