So I was out doing some research in the community this week for my job, which requires me to interview an assortment of peoples and get their input on the “needs of youth.” Yesterday I was rather excited to be interviewing a man who had started a non-profit coffee shop with the intent of providing a place for programs for “youth.” And he’s been extremely successful in that task and just expanded. Regardless, I considered him pretty knowledgeable about the population he sees day to day since he’s rather involved.
Many of my questions were meant for him to share his perspective. His knowledge was based on observations or anecdotal comments in response to the programs and interacting with the people that co-habitat in the lovely welcoming coffee house. So rather common sense like, I ask a question, he responds with his thoughts and ideas. Everything seems pretty “normal” until the moment of truth kind of hits me in the face- smack dab on the forehead.
Me: How would you define youth?
Him: I would consider anyone ages 6-30 in the classification of youth.
Me thinking to myself- okay that seems like a pretty big age range, but I’ll keep listening.
Him (not his words exactly): While, developmentally they are very different they all have the same needs. They don’t know how to spell, they can’t exist outside of the computer world, they have limited engagement with the real world, they might be technologically more advanced…but on the flip side what they are good at also hinders them from succeeding.
It hits me. Does he realize he is talking about me. I’m still considered a Youth. In my maybe somewhat shallow, or ignorant opinion, I thought I had graduated from the ageism stereotypes and finally was considered an adult. Educated, knowledgeable, responsible…you know things that I would typically associate with the word adult. A slightly sense of uneasiness came over me with the idea of calling myself a youth.
But today, upon reviewing my own Happy List I realized the number of spelling errors I had. Fuck…I totally rely on the automatic spell check that my email program just does. Shit, I suck. That has been up there for how long now, posted with numerous spelling errors. So I guess I’m back to being a 12-years-old, and still a youth who doesn’t know how to spell…or use spell check for that matter!
I’m not bitter, really. Really, I’m not. But the shocking news that at 28 I’m still classified as a 12 year old child just kind of caused my head to twitch a little. But on the flip side there’s a whole lot of vitality in this woman, who apparently, will never succeed in life.