Shifting Age Norms

Age ain’t nothing but a number? 🤔

When I was growing up, I was asked a whimsical question. “What is old to you”? As I got older the answer (of course) has changed. As I creep up on my late 30’s I have noticed a big shift in age appropriateness and what’s “normal” for certain age groups. Shall we talk about it? Lets!

Ok so starting at the beginning, ages 1 to 10. Everything is quite normal until, I would say, around 3 and 4. Growing up in the 80’s a transformer,  having all the lions to the voltron set, simon says, or a nintendo, was high tech. We loved when we memorized directions to a Transformer (mine was sound wave, optimus prime, jazz, and a few gobots) or got to level 100 in simon says (im exaggerating, I only got to level 90, LOL). 

Today, OH, MY! I have to make sure I keep my son in the kids profile on his kindle. He would have ordered so many apps if not for that profile. My aunt’s son did that, funny but not funny (LOL). My son can navigate Youtube like an elementary school student, and he’s still in daycare. These kids are so tech savvy that our tech is actually hard to them. Don’t believe me? Find a simon says or old nintendo game, I guarantee, your child will struggle to play it (well between the ages of 10 and 15 will struggle, a little kid might actually get it). 

By the time a child steps into the tweens i noticed an interesting regression in social and basic  skills. Where do i get my data? From the 10+ years I have in education. I hear parents say all the time, “he/she can hook up the Wifi but cant wash his/her clothes. I had to teach my now 21 year old brother how to wash his clothes when he was 18. I knew how to do that when I was 9. They may not be able to read the social cues of the room but that can do the math on how many people there are and how many pounds of food they ate combined. 

As we approach the teen to young adult years (15 to 25) I noticed a big divide in terms of demographic and economics . Basically kids/teens in inner city areas opposed to kids/teens in rural/suburban areas. 

City kids/teens are ready to work around this age. They tend to have less security so they are a little on edge. (Constantly moving, food, gang activities, evictions, violence, drugs, etc…). They are ready to move on and establish their own at an early age. They are either driven to work hard or lack any work ethic and get by on basic jobs or illegal activities. BUT, I do notice a lot of them want their own business. It’s hard to focus on living when you are constantly trying to survive. (it’s not my quote, learned it from a speaker in Princeton). 

Suburban/rural kids/teens have all the things needed to thrive and interesting enough, it’s also their problem. Over years of working with well off kids I’ve noticed they are care free, take more risk (I’m an aide in phys ed and they have more injuries than I have seen in the inner city). They (kids/teens) work, a lot on self improvement. They wake up early, go to school, play a sport after school, homework/study all week, and do that sport (and various other activities) on the weekends. Some play an instrument, more sports, or do a club (drama, STEM, writing, etc…) in the off season. All this and unfortunately some lack understanding of the real world. They only know their bubble in their neighborhood causing some culture and life shocks as they get older. I’ve seen them use laptops as door stops, throw away designer clothes, leave cell phones in random places, and say some inappropriate slurs all because they can. The powers that be (in some places) rather have them happy and educated rather than honest, respectful, and educated (blame the parents, I will write about them in another piece).

I said a lot but this is a crucial point in their lives. Mine was in college, not middle school. Parents and educators are not waiting to instil these lessons in High School or college any more. It reminds me of an episode of The Flash. Flash’s daughter went back in time. They were having a tech conversation and she said all this tech jargon. She went to say “yea, basic science”. The rest of the crew was like “oh, that’s basic, ok, wow”. They are getting smarter but experiencing less of the various facets of life. 

I used to remember how my dad said his 20’s where hard years for him. They had me at 20, he and my mom worked a lot and by the time they were in their 30’s they had it together. I feel like my 20’s and my 30’s are hard. I have spent almost 2 decades just working to survive, hard marital issues, and I’ll be honest, my credit is in need of spiritual healing. It used to be, work 25 years and then retire. NOW it’s work 30 to 40 years, maybe consider retiring?. Yes we are living longer than 30 years ago, but come on! 

I see friends and family who are in their 40’s and a very interesting thing catches my eye. They have little kids. I work with a guy whose 42 and his kids are turing 6. Shoot, Josh Brolin (Thanos)  just had a kid (little thanos) and he just turned 50. I know people have been having kids at late ages for centuries but, it’s like, its happening a lot lately (in my area at least). On the other hand, I have some friends who have kids in highschool already (I’ll play devil’s advocate myself ;-P). They also move and work like 30 year olds. Like the 40 is the new 30. 

The 50 year old crew have been put in an interesting position. My parents and their friends are established and have grown kids. Unfortunately their kids and their parents rely on them. I’m not ashamed to say, last year, I was still receiving help from my mom (gas money, baby sitting, bill money, etc…)  and I was working 2 ½ jobs (teaching, after school sports, and Amazing Escape). I still lacked basic necessities after paying for daycare and all the other bills. I would not eat some night and just go to sleep because I didn’t want to bug my parents for money to get something to eat. 

Sidebar: Selma Hayek, she is an immortal, Latin Goddess. I haven’t narrowed it down to which one but her 50 is like the world’s 30. My god! I see your miracles. 

Ok, 60’s and up. I’ll be honest. I have limited exposure with this age group. Minus our president and I would not insult a whole age group because of him. My one grandmother passed in 1989. My other grandmother, well we grew apart (that will be a separate blog). My one grand father was a rolling stone (Not a lot will get that reference), and my other one is mostly blind. Not going to say much on this but the few I see around me are just living their best lives in spite of pain and so much loss.

The crazy thing about this is, in like 5 to 10 years, there will be another shift. Medicines are getting better. Quality of life styles are changing. Ozzy Ozborne and Selma Hayek will have aged 1 year every 10 of our years (LOL). As society changes so does the norms. So I raise a glass to 30+ years and thank God in advance to observe and live 130 more. 

Published by Jamar Reed

I'm just a Father who likes to write. Hopefully my words will mean something in a sea of countless others.

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  1. I love that we get a chance to peak into your mind! This was clever and funny! I enjoyed it!


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