I’m going to have a rant that’s been a long time coming.
Age does not equal experience.
Throughout the course of the past two weeks, I’ve encountered this concept and I have to say that it frustrates me. No, makes me furious is more like it.
Since when did a number indicate that someone was more knowledgable? When did the duration that someone’s been alive equate to wisdom? I’m sorry, but your age is not indicative of whether or not you know what you’re talking about.
I’m tired of being looked at differently because I’m younger.
I’m tired of not being taken seriously because I haven’t gone through the conventional steps of adulthood. Yes, I have an apartment. Yes, I pay my own bills. Yes, I have a job. No, I don’t have a degree, but I’m part way through two, which is more than I can say for some. No, I’m not married. No, I don’t have a job where I can hand out business cards and participate in pissing contests at conferences. No, I don’t have “expert” attached to my Twitter handle or anywhere on my LinkedIn profile. No, I don’t claim to be a guru or a professional or some other kind of bullshit title that makes one feel more reputable and secure in their own uncertainty.
Guess what? I’m happy with what I have. I feel secure in knowing that I don’t know everything. I feel excited about having much to experience. I know I still have a lot to learn – and that’s okay – but that doesn’t give anyone the right to belittle me or discount my opinions because I lack a Ph.D. or “guru” after my name and a host of people aren’t willing to pay me to tell them something they already know but just can’t articulate.
So for a moment, just for a moment, take a step down from your soapbox and recognize that I’m mature for my age. I have a lot to offer. I bring a fresh perspective to the table. I don’t think conventionally. I’m not afraid to shake things up (when I get the courage). I speak my mind. I have beliefs and can defend them. I actually have an idea what I’m talking about. I speak from experience. I don’t just spout out textbook answers. I’ve tried things. I’ve failed. I’ve succeeded. I’ve learned from my mistakes and frankly, I still have a lot to learn…
…and so do you.