Age doesn't matter; PERSPECTIVE does.
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Being The Confused Millennial, I've received my fair share of negative messages from older generations over the years. When I chose my blog name, I had know idea the intensity the word “millennial” would cause some folks to react. I've gotten everything from the light and cheeky, “what are millennials so confused about? why are they struggling with adulting?” to much harsher that I honestly won't even put on here, but essentially messages have stated that millennials are a series of expletives who need to get jobs and more expletives and derogatory actions. So I wasn't overwhelmingly surprised when I got an email the other day that went like this (paraphrased the series of emails),
“Live it up now, because life sucks after 40. Everyone says your life falls apart after 70, but really once you hit 40 life isn't fun. It makes sense why so many kill themselves so young now. They know that life gets worse and it's all a lie. Enjoy it while you still can. Your words only hold water if your over 45, otherwise you aren't old enough to have learned what life really is. Denial and drugs is how you all make it. Once you know you can't unlearn it.”
This honestly broke my heart. First, because this person is clearly in pain. Second, because their perspective is so close minded and they don't realize they have the power to shift their reality. Age doesn't matter, perspective does. Two people could live through the exact sequence of events, but have totally different realities, why? Because of their perspective. I know 20 year olds who have the wisdom of 200 year olds and 60 year olds with the wisdom of a 6 month old.
Recently, I was on Ruth Soukup's podcast, Do It Scared (listen here!) where I shared just a small portion of the challenges I've faced in my life. Challenges that I've sat in group therapy rooms and shared, only to hear group members responses of, “well I don't think I should be here anymore because I've never gone through anything nearly half as bad as that.” Challenges that plenty of 50+ year olds have come up to me sharing that despite their age, they've never experienced as trying times as I had before turning 20. Challenges that left me wanting to take my own life more times than I can count.
How did I respond?
I responded to this person with love. Encouraging them to choose a different perspective for their life, validating my credibility to speak on the subject, and their response was to unsubscribe and block me. So I shared the story to my Insta-stories and was overwhelmed by the number of responses I got, where young people – or people in general – have been told their experiences and opinions don't matter because of either their age. How many people have experienced hateful or invalidating responses simply because they are younger.
So today, I wanted to take a moment to say: it does NOT matter how old you are in your human suit! Age is not an indicator of anything other than the deterioration of your human suit. It is not a measurement of emotional intelligence. It's not a measurement of overcoming adversity. It's not a measurement of worthiness to share your truth or take up space. No matter what your age or struggle is, I see you, I hear you. Your hardships are valid. Your pain is valid. But your healing is your responsibility.
Perspective shifting real talk:
Do you know what is a measurement for emotional intelligence and resilience? Perspective. How we choose to approach and view life, and how we respond to it. Personally, I'm not in denial about how ugly life can be. I know first hand how harmful humans can be, not only to one another, but themselves. But, I know that there can be beauty in that darkness. I know that we can look to find meaning in the worst situations. We can take a step out of the victim mentality and feeling bad for ourselves and why something horrible is happening and step into a healing mentality, and ask ourselves what is the meaning of this. What is the lesson to be learned so I can stop experiencing and re-experiencing this. How can I look to use this experience to heal myself and the collective?
When we shift our perspective from a dark one, to one of love and light, we can see the bigger picture. I don't consider myself religious, but I do consider myself spiritual. I believe that we know exactly what we are signing up for when we decide to incarnate on Earth. I believe we choose our parents and our hardships that we will face in this life. I also believe we have freedom of choice. Meaning that our soul knew all the quantum possibilities of what could happen with those parents or hardships, and it is part of our healing evolution to choose to grow and lean into the struggles. To choose to become love and light warriors who show others how to heal from their mistakes, shame, and pity.
I don't believe that at some set arbitrary age will we finally “get” the meaning of life. In fact, I refuse to believe it. I know there are people probably thinking to themselves right now how naive or arrogant I sound. To those people I'd say the following: why does my mindset bother you? What does labeling my mindset a naive or arrogant give you? How does the discord you're feeling serve you? Is it that it allows you to keep your walls up? Give you comfort that life is black and white, good and bad, and when we can justify things as such it feels safer? More predictable?
Well, let me tell you, there's no safety in that. When we try to put things in a box or are working from a set of expectations and rules, that's when life can seem harder. When we get caught up in thinking there's safety in that the truth only comes after a certain age, or that things really are only bad or good… we miss the big picture. The big picture that teaches us that all the ugliness happening in our world is a reflection of where we can heal and love more; and to respond to that ugliness with love, is a choice. We can rise up, or fall down to meet it and continue to perpetuate the cycle.
We have no problem exercising our glutes or our biceps, but what about our mind? Just like we train any muscle, we need to train our mind to respond with love. To shift our perspectives into one of healing and love, rather than pity and separation.
My challenge to you this week:
Notice what lies you've been telling yourself. Whether it's that wisdom only comes with age, or that you've been lied to about how difficult life is, or that your truth isn't as important as the next persons. Notice where you have some bitterness. Dig deep and ask yourself why you are holding onto this belief in your life? How is it serving you? What would happen if you let it go and became open to a new reality?