Although I hate to be the kind of person who would tell you there are only two kinds of people, I’ve stumbled upon what I believe to be a universal truth- as ageism falls into two main categories:
Category 1: Old people generally creep you out, kids give you warm-fuzzies inside
Category 2: Kids generally creep you out, old people are rather endearing
Everyone I talk to about this tends to agree, when prodded enough to admit to it. Some people like Aaron will tell you up front, others will insist they love everyone and want to help mankind blah blah blah. They are a null set. Consider being trapped in a room with one other person for approximately two hours. You have nothing to do and nowhere to go. This person can either be a five year old or a seventy-five year old. Take your pick.
I can tell you personally I am more creeped out by kids. They do not make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and when I enter a room where they are present, or if some relative has brought one over, I do not feel the need to gravitate towards them on bended-knee like many kid-friendly Category 1 people.
I am all about Category 2 because I feel that old people are so often under appreciated and misunderstood. I would love to sit and leach off all their untold life stories. The sheer amount of things they know about life that people completely disregard makes me sad. I feel like everyone always treats kids like they are special, like they are awesome just for existing, when they have done nothing.
What is it that makes me feel this way? Is it a part of our personalities that drives us to favor one group over the other? To be repulsed by immaturity or fear proximity to death? What determines our choice to embrace one over the other?
Theory 1: Idealism vs. Realism. It is said we must enter into faith like children, open-minded and open-hearted. And it is often a stereotype of old people to be exactly the opposite. Maybe I prefer this sort of approach to learning about humanity because I would rather be given the hard truths, rather be given the biases and the grudges in experience, so that I can temper them against my own. Compare and contrast and question my beliefs but still know to ignore the stale opinions and old beliefs.
Theory 2: Introversion vs. Extroversion. As an introvert I feel threatened and anxious around children, whereas old people demand nothing from me. They ask for little, they are content to just be. Kids are frantic and needy and always wanting to show you toys. It’s exhausting.
I’m going to develop this some more, but to start, I’m dying to know which “side” everyone is on and why they think they are that way.