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Student view: Owning your age, reluctantly or otherwise

Kevin Styba-Nelson is a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School in Penticton
Kevin Styba-Nelson is a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School.

There may be nothing more innocently hilarious than someone acting like they are part of a different age group.

Whether it is a middle aged person trying to correctly use “Yeet” in a sentence, or a teenager sarcastically shaking their fist at those young whippersnappers—there is always something so inherently comical about it.

Society as a whole just cannot see any overlap of these different age groups. So whenever something like this is presented to us it automatically seems absurd. The way we define age groups has this odd structure carved up by seemingly arbitrary lines. Everyone has their place within these lines, but everyone seems to be constantly fighting this placement. No one seems to be happy with their age.

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This, at first, seem to make decent amount of sense. As the majority of people I have met were alive, I have concluded that living is generally something humans like to do. And since we each get a finite amount of time to do that whole living thing, the older we get, the more upset we become that we have less time to live. Again, this all makes sense from the surface. But what this idea fails to see is it isn’t always the amount of life we are searching for. It isn’t youth people are necessarily wanting, but rather people want what their age does not allow them to have.

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If you take a look at what it’s like to belong to any given age group, they each have a long list of advantages and disadvantages. And it is these disadvantages that make us crave being a different age. Children and teenagers have less responsibility, making them the envy of stressed and over-worked adults, but they don’t have much in the way of freedom to choose what they do with their life at that time. Which makes them envious of being older. This progression of wanting to be older and older seems to stop somewhere in the 20s and 30s.

Through these two decades you get to be treated like an adult, but there is a slow transition from freedom to responsibility that seems to hit its tipping point somewhere around middle age. This wonderful climax is often affectionately referred to as a mid life crisis.

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This, often dramatic, point is where we shift from wanting more with age, to wanting what we’ve been losing; youth. And as a person who is currently a few days away from the very specific transition of turning eighteen, leaving one stage of life for another can be a difficult time. Knowing you are happy to be moving forward in life while also knowing someday you will look back and miss it, is an odd position. I have a while before middle age, but if family history is worth anything I’m about a quarter of the way to the end myself. It’s a weird concept to grasp, but I know there’s no sense in holding on to something you need to move on from. We all come to these points. Like it or not, we all need to just embrace where we are in life if we’re ever going live in that moment.

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There is nothing that is more a part of life than time passing and life going on. There’s nothing we can do about it but, if we’re lucky, we’ll each get the chance to live through these various stages. So whether you are four, 49, 18 or 98, own it. Because you’ve made it this far and let’s be honest, any attempt to try and fight it just ends up as funny as a crispy yeet, boi.

Kevin Styba-Nelson is a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School and a regular contributor to the Penticton Western News.

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