Social Question

laurenkem's avatar

Is it normal to resent young(er) people?

Asked by laurenkem (3408points) October 11th, 2013

I guess that wasn’t very clear. What I’m wondering is if my feelings are strictly my own, or those of lots of other people. I turned 49 in June. So I’m right on that curve of about-to-be-50. And lately, I just find myself resenting the shit out of 20-somethings. I’m not really sure if I know WHY I’m resenting them, although I can recite many incidental reasons why.

I’m sure some of it has to do with the fact that I envy the youthfulness itself, the tight skin, the wrinkle-less eyes, the believing the world is your oyster, the whole “I can conquer anything” feeling. I miss those things. Add to that the fact that I look at these kids and a lot of them just seem so stupid. They can barely read and write and, yet, they’re the hottest things going. Certain kids strut around just waiting for someone to tell them how “awesome” they are for performing the most miniscule tasks, like spelling their names correctly or filling out a form in accordance with the detailed instructions.

I guess a lot of it is that, at my age, I now know that the world is NOT my oyster, nor will I be conquering any part of it soon. I missed that boat. I blew it. I learned that love usually doesn’t conquer all, and there’s not a knight on a white horse 99% of the time. Nobody is going to tell me I’m “special” for doing my job. It’s what I get paid for.

And the majority of my resentment is directed towards myself, more than I’ll ever admit to most people. I can’t help feeling like I missed something. Did I blink and get this old? WTF happened to my body? Why don’t my boobs stand up like that 21-year-old’s? Why don’t I feel that sense of entitlement? Why don’t I assume I’m worth a $200K job? Did my parents not nurture me enough?

Sorry, I’m ranting. Have at it, Flutherites!

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28 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I’m 45 and I don’t feel resentment towards young people, what I feel is sadness that I did not seize the moment when I could. I know I am not very old, but I do have some big regrets that I did not pursue some of the things I wanted when I was younger and it has been plaguing me lately. I have been calling the last few months my midlife crisis.

As far as the wrinkles, hair, figure, aches, pains…well, I also have regrets about going in the sun so much when I was very young. I don’t resent the young beautiful people, if anything I am annoyed I don’t look as good as some of the 45 and 50 year olds around me. In my 20’s I had very bad chronic pain, and for now even with my newer health problems I actually feel better daily than in my mid to late twenties and early thirties, so I appreciate that.

I guess in summary, I don’t usually envy, resent, or get jealous of others. Usually I feel more like I am competing with myself. I use competing for lack of a better word. Am I to the standard I want to be in the moment I am in? I try to appease myself by saying I did the best I could do at the time when I think about the past, but lately that line is not working for me.

KNOWITALL's avatar

You’re just coming to terms with the harsh reality of life. It’s normal, just get over it quickly. ;)

laurenkem's avatar

@JLeslie Thank you for a more realistic way of looking at it. Perhaps what I’m feeling is really regret and sadness for the girl I once was, and for all the avenues I missed along the way.

Adagio's avatar

I sometimes get envious of younger women, I can feel that with my own daughter (27), at the same time I feel pleasure at seeing her where she is in her life. I don’t feel resentment, I think it’s just the realisation and acknowledgement that my life is in a different phase now, what’s past is past. My feelings are also informed by living with a severe physical disability (not congenital) so involve other issues as well.

Coloma's avatar

I’m fine with youth, and I am almost 54. Never crosses my mind to resent younger people. My daughter is 26 and we have a great relationship. I occasionally think about missed opportunities and the roads not traveled but I don’t feel any intrinsic negativity towards the younger crowd and I don’t feel competitive with younger women.

I like PEOPLE of all ages.
Yes, most of what you feel is your own struggle with coming to terms with your aging and maturity. I’m fine with passing the torch, I had a good run and it is what it is, get used to it, you’re only going to get even older now. haha
Ya better make peace with it all or you’re going to suffer.

livelaughlove21's avatar

It seems you answered your own question.

I think it’s just a part of getting older and realizing youth is behind you, and everyone handles that differently. My mom gets sad seeing my husband and I together because she says she wishes she could be young and in love like us again. She got teary eyed walking behind us on the beach a couple of years ago. I thought it was pretty silly, but I get it.

Erik Erikson would say you’re in the Generativity vs. Stagnation stage of lifespan development and leaning toward stagnation, at least for now. The goal here is to set the resentment aside and put your energy into connecting with the younger generation and concern yourself with things like learning, community, relationships, and growth. It’s not to resent what you’ll never be, but learn from those youngsters and teach them what you know as well. They are, after all, the future.

marinelife's avatar

First, stop comparing yourself to today’s youth and savor where you are in life. Life is tradeoffs. For all your wrinkles and sagging boobs, you have gained maturity, wisdom and perspective.

Love where you are, because you can never be anywhere else. Think about what you have to be grateful for in life and thank the unverse or God or whoever for giving it to you.

My mom is 89 and in failing health, and I am very glad to be where I am right now and not where she is. But she has had a good life.

ETpro's avatar

I think I often pity the piss-and-vinegar young. As I close in on 70, I know what they are in for. The girls have fresh, tight, wrinkle-free skin now, and pert young tits proudly sticking straight out. But the only alternative to surrender to the relentless onslaught of gravity is early death, and that sucks even more than a few wrinkles. Same goes for the young bucks with the washboard abs. Let’s see how many of them make it to my age and still have that form, and how many have exchanged their midriff six-pack for the pot belly that drinking one two many six packs yields.

Sunny2's avatar

I’m a realist and can’t waste the energy to resent the natural process of life. There are advantages AND disadvantages to every age, but you don’t get to choose one age and stay there. Why make yourself unhappy by wishing you were something you can’t be? Take advantage of the good features of whatever age you are.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

I almost thought you were my brother, until you ranted about your boobs. o_O

Your feelings must be quite common. I am coming on that age and I can feel the slight edge of what you are saying. I am starting to ponder some of those very things you spoke of. I am pretty sure gravity hates me. Wtf.

I hear it gets better in the 60’s and 70’s and then for those of us lucky enough to make it to the 80’s we basically turn almost back into babies.

gailcalled's avatar

I will no longer waste one second of the precious life that is left to me on regrets, resentments, woulda, shoulda and couldas. Another blink, another second gone by that I might have enjoyed.

I could moan about how I would love to be 49 again,but why on earth would I bother?
The people who love me don’t give a flying fig which way my boobs point and rightly so.

Gravity is an equal-opportunity partner.

I just discovered that my surgeon glued my incision together rather than use stitches or staples. That means I am going to have a really elegant scar.

gondwanalon's avatar

So you are about to turn 50. Forgive me for being blunt but you are just feeling sorry for yourself.

I don’t think that it is normal or healthy to resent young people. Your inadequate feelings are not justified by pointing fingers at the young and or your parents or grasping for feeble reasons for your failures.

There are people in their 80’s who would love to be 49 again. Growing old is a natural and you would benefit by accepting that fact and all of the changes that come with it. You seem to present yourself like you are the only person to have ever gown old. You should consider yourself lucky for living as long as you have.

I’m 62 and and I sure don’t resent you or anyone else. Of course I would love to be 18 again. But I know that it isn’t possible so I don’t dwell on it.

Pachy's avatar

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.
Madeleine L’Engle

Here are some other nice quotes on the topic.

cookieman's avatar

Alan Rickman Got His First Movie Role at 46

Roget Invented the Thesaurus at Age 73

Kathryn Joosten, an Unemployed Nurse, Became an Emmy Award Winning Actress at 56

Colonel Sanders Was 65 When He Launched Kentucky Fried Chicken

Grandma Moses began painting at 76, after arthritis forced her to give up embroidery. She continued painting until 101.

Julia Child became a chef after many years as a secret intelligence officer. She was 49 when her first book was published, 51 when her TV program “The French Chef” first aired.

Ray Kroc went from being a salesman to opening the first McDonalds at age 52.

Raymond Chandler became a bookkeeper after an unsuccessful career in journalism. Published his first book, The Big Sleep, at the age of 51.

Sister Marion Irvine started running at age 47, when she was overweight and smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day. Went on to qualify for the Olympic marathon trials at age 54.

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas began her environmental work when in her 60s. Started her long fight to protect the Everglades at age 78, which she continued until she was 100.

Laura Ingalls Wilder published the first book in the “Little House on the Prairie” series at 65.

Wallace Stevens changed his career from insurance salesman to poet in his 50s.

Maya Angelou was in her 60s when her poetry and books became popular.

Alfred Hitchcock directed his best films between the ages of 54 and 61.

Susan Boyle achieved worldwide recognition for her singing talent at age 48.

@laurenkem: You are a person of value with something to offer this world.

Stop whining and get to work.

ragingloli's avatar

Yes, it is good and normal to despise children.

ucme's avatar

^^ Only if you’re an obese, old boring German twat.

ragingloli's avatar

It seems the Luftwaffe missed a house.

ucme's avatar

Like I said

ragingloli's avatar

Like I said.

ucme's avatar

No, no, like you spat.

ragingloli's avatar

That is what your mum should have done.

ucme's avatar

Best part of you trickled down your mum’s arse crack, all brown & smelly.

hearkat's avatar

“Youth is wasted on the young.”

I am a year or two behind you and in the early stages of an RMD (Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Disease; today is World Arthritis Day), so there are days when I feel 80-something.

I don’t resent my son or his early-20s peers… I can’t stand the lack of education or work ethic in many of the under-40s that I’ve worked with, but I still don’t resent them. Just like I don’t resent the people with long legs and a great metabolism. They don’t know how good they’ve got it, just like those of is who can see and hear well don’t know how good we’ve got it. We take our abilities for granted.

“You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”

Sunny2's avatar

I would NOT like to be any age I was before. Been there; done that. I would be hard pressed to choose one day I’d like to re-live. There are still things to learn, to experience, to look forward to. Who knows what’s next? There have been good experiences and not so good. My life is what I have at the moment. And I still look forward to tomorrow. What more can I ask for?

Pachy's avatar

Normal, I think yes, but what a sad waste of time.

ETpro's avatar

@cookieman Thank you! That list made my day.

cookieman's avatar

@ETpro: You are welcome sir.

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