The Exploration Of Youth, And Gatekeeping

Someone used the phrase “the exploration of youth” on Twitter and it got me thinking about the implications of the phrase. Of course, it wasn’t the first time I was hearing it; it is a popular concept. Here are my thoughts on the matter.

People talk about the exploration of youth, on the premise that your youth is the time you should do your exploring, and that after that, you have to “settle down”. It might not be intentional, but it is some form of gatekeeping.

Why can’t you explore in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or 70s? Why should you be excluded from the multiple, beautiful possibilities of life just because you are past a certain age or because you missed the opportunity before a certain age? What happened to the concept of “better late than never”?

And it doesn’t matter in what sense they mean it – be it business, career, investing, relocating, relationships, marriage, sexual adventures, travelling the world, whatever. Why should you not explore simply because your hair is breaking out in grey and silver streaks?

For example, whenever an oldie decides to get married, there is a deafening cry of, “What are they still looking for?”

Sometimes, when I go dancing, I see the look on some faces. On one occasion, there was disgust plastered all over the face of this person who was sitting at an adjacent table. As far as they were concerned, this salt-n-pepper Gen Xer was too old to be dancing happily on his feet for hours non-stop. That activity was reserved for youth only.

The subtle message is, “If you have crossed a certain age, you do not have the right to aspire to happiness, to go for more, or to be involved in experiences we have reserved for younger people”. And that is nothing but bull sheet.

Society (whoever that is exactly) tells older people to “act their age”. But society’s expectations can sometimes be crippling and limiting. You must be free to choose how you want to live your latter years without letting anyone limit you that way.

Do not let anyone gatekeep you based on how old you are. Whether you missed the chance to explore in your youth, or you have chosen to be forever young and just don’t want to stop yet, get up, pack your bags, and go explore the world. Godspeed.

4 thoughts on “The Exploration Of Youth, And Gatekeeping”

  1. You are only as young / old as you believe.

    Age is a matter of the mind. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

    Age is basically just a number, so you have youthful old people as well as old young people.


Leave a comment