How old are you and how do you feel about it? Do you openly talk about your age? Have you ever been discriminated against because of your age?
Strangely enough, age seems to be quite a taboo in our society, still. This is why I quite liked the topic of the session I got to moderate at last week's Fundamental Rights Forum by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights: How to combat ageism (that affects health, wellbeing, and prosperity especially of older people)?
A topic which we might not take seriously despite the fact that the European population is getting older and older: according to EUROSTAT in 2020 more than one-fifth of the EU population was aged 65 and over, the average life expectancy is 80.6, the median age 43.9!
The speakers Nevena Peneva, Ales Kenda, Anja Majer, Philippe Seidel Leroy, and Dijana Lukić agreed that we need to grow the understanding for each other between different generations by creating more touchpoints, collaboration, and interaction. We can all start this process by becoming more aware of our own ageism: when did we last not take someone seriously, underestimate them, stereotype them - because of their age?
We closed the session with something we all share: words we had received from older people in our lives that had touched and influenced us deeply. One week before my upcoming 38th birthday I can say, I very much like the perspective that age does not only come with disadvantages but also brings us closer to something we should cherish so much more in our society: wisdom.