Blog #37 | Age is a strange thing

The days are getting longer and sunnier. In these summer months, it’s not always about doing what you had planned, but taking advantage of things that come up. There are lots of fun things to do around Vancouver this, and every, summer. With each activity/event, you run into a lot of different people doing different things and looking for different things in their lives. This is one aspect that has always interested me.

When you’re five years old, anyone who’s six and older is very strange and foreign. You don’t understand what age means and that’s fine, but looking back it all makes sense as that one year is a whole 1/5th of their age. This continues through life; however it gets stressed and strained as you keep getting older. I remember being really young, pre-eight(ish) years old, and thinking that my brother (two years older than me) was super old and cool. I’m gonna break out and say that that last part didn’t stick around for too long…but that’s something brothers do, and not really relevant to today’s inquiry.

By the time you’re in 5th or 6th grade, you THINK you might be getting it. You’re quickly nearing the top of the school yard food chain. You’re better than the 2nd graders who do silly things, and the 3rd and 4th graders who are all annoying. You’re almost top dog and you feel pretty good about it. This is the first… well, I’m going to call it an “Age Gate”. It’s when everything you thought there was about being older changes. This occurs when you enter middle school, or junior high; in other words, that period of school where they stick the grades 7-9 together in one school. You enjoyed being top dog for about two years and were used to it. You thought you were cool, and you were, but then what was cool changed. You go from being the big 6th grader in junior school to the bottom of the food chain.

Again, you work your way up to the top dog position in middle school/junior high. Once at the top, you bask in your amazing cool-ness. The interesting thing about this “Age Gate” is that it keeps happening. First from junior school (what I call Elementary School), to middle school, and then again on to high school. The only difference is the definition or aspect of “cool” changes. In junior school, it might be the best ball from PE class. In high school, a large part of being “cool” was attitude and driving… among other less savory things.

Ok, so we have lived a good portion of our lives where age meant a lot. You didn’t really hang out with anyone plus-minus one year of your own age. Then there’s university. To be noted, it’s another “Age Gate” where everything changes, but it’s also the last “Age Gate”. People’s age stop mattering. It doesn’t matter that my favourite person to chef it up with is close to four years my senior, though he doesn’t act like it, and that I get to spend lots of time with people over six years my senior (lots of them are even older, and I’m not the youngest person in Dance Club by a long shot). It was pretty strange coming from high school just two years ago and having everything change. While it wasn’t THAT big of a change for me, I can definitely imagine it having a large affect on others.

The main thing from this reflection is that how through a large chunk of our early years which we spend learning is totally contradicted in a single semester in university. Granted for some it might take longer, and others shorter, it still stands that it’s a pretty big switch. I don’t fully get it, and that’s what’s great about it. I know age means less now because there’s more mixing, and I like it this way. It’s much more interesting being able to talk to everyone regardless of age, but it still bothers me that there’s no real reason for this. That is other then us just being stupid kids (guilty here) and being comfortable around those our own age.

No matter what the reason is (scientific, behavioral, cultural, or whatever), it doesn’t change the fact that age doesn’t mean much at UBC which is great. Either way, it seems age means less and less as we get older. With that said, there are still some milestones that are pretty cool to hit regardless of your current age. I believe those milestones are turning 13, you’re now a teen; 16 and 19, you can drive/drink(in BC); 20, you’re no longer a teen; 30/40/60/70/80/90, multiples of ten is fun(but probably gets a but tiring around 60); 50 and 100, the half and full century. I have to say I’m looking forward to a few more of these just to see how I get there, and how things go for me.

That’s enough for today as this newly 20-year-old has some drinking and cake eating to do, so I’ll catch you guys around the dance floor.

Your SoCo Jake signing off.

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