Harpreet, 26 yrs

Jan 8th 2023

“When I was a kid, my grandfather would take me around Bhatnura Kalan, the village in India we lived in. One of my favourite places was an area where many old, retired army men would hang out and share incredible stories about their lives, including their experiences in the army. I loved being with my grandfather because we were always having adventures discovering new things about our village and our people.

It's been 10 years since I left home. I don’t like going back because there’s nothing left – my grandparents have passed away and other relatives have moved elsewhere. I feel like a stranger there. It doesn’t feel like home anymore. But we’re growing older, so it’s up to my siblings and I to create the family again. That’s what I look forward to with aging. I want to give back the kind of childhood I had to my kids.

Every child hopes to have an important figure in their life, someone they want to spend time with or have many good memories with. I don’t remember my great great grandmother’s face, but I remember the time I spent with her – the stories she told, the places she took me, the candies she bought me. She made an impact on me, and I’ll remember that. The same goes for my grandfather. I want to be someone like that when I’m old – I want to be remembered for who I was to my family and friends, even if I’m not there.

It never really crossed my mind that ageism is an issue. I always make jokes about my mom being old, but I don’t mean any harm. I didn’t think about how these comments made her feel. It’s really a matter of being aware that this is wrong. We should talk to older adults about this. How do they feel when we say this stuff to them?

From what I see, the main issue that prevents us from addressing ageism is individuality. Instead of saying 'I', we should say 'us' or 'we'. Young people don’t care about aging because we don’t think about it – we know we’ll age, but we think we have time to deal with it later. But we’re all aging, so instead of saying 'it’s not my problem', we need to say it is. If we view it as a process we go through together, instead of thinking you’re alone, aging won’t be that scary anymore."