This morning, in the breakfast buffet, an older woman stepped in front of me in the line to the coffee machine. Now, I usually confront people that do this, but I had just woken up and sadly, I don’t speak any Russian, so I didn’t bother. Anyway, back at my table, I started waking up while getting irritated of her behavior, and my family laughed it off.
Now I need to explain something. I may not have been around for long, but I’ve learned some basics survival skills. If you want to survive a day out in a city, bring a bottle of water, cross streets carefully and go to the toilet whenever you get a chance. If you want to survive school, don’t take it too seriously, don’t get attached and sleep enough. If you want to survive in this cruel world of ours, respect yourself and your surroundings, take good care of your close ones, be honest, take your chances and live in the moment. The difference is just that no matter how bad you try, you don’t get out alive anyway.
Now in the world of today, in the Nordic and European countries, it’s not hard to gain the age of 60. It depends a lot on luck. And when i realised this, I started questioning why you should respect older people. In reality yes, a lot of older people have experienced things and worked hard. But there are lazy 90-yearolds that lived of their parents until they married rich and never did anything by themselves, just as there are 80-yearold assholes and 70-yearolds with attitudeproblems.
I respect my Grandma. Not because she’s old, but beacuse she has worked hard, she’s honest and brave, cares and is hella cool. But I’d respect her just as much if she was my age, with the same qualities. But she’s a little old-fashioned, so she believes I respect her because of her age, and well I let her believe that. But what I don’t let her believe, is that shecan interrupt me when I’m talking (Okay yes, people are welcome to interrupt me when I go on for hours, by in general, I like to make my point), and this occurs to all people I talk to.
And yes, I do listen to people with more experience than me, mainly to get informed and not say stupid things later on. I even pretend to agree to hear more. I had overheard this discussion about hiearachies the other day, and the one part said they don’t excist in youth organizations, and the other part said they excist and that they are important. I just smiled and nodded. My real opinion is that they do excist (I mean, I’ve seen that) and that the structures and positions of power are needed, but that we should strive to a common respect instead of just shutting up in fear of those with higher statue. The same way I respect rules that I believe everyone could benefit from, I respect that a democratically chosen president leads a discussion and not necessarily.
All my life, there’s this one thing I’ve been told, I’ve read it, I’ve heard and seen it and bumped in to it. People, telling young people and especially women to stick up for themselves, make their voices heard and crave respect. And so I’ve done. Now I’ve reached a point where my self-confidence is at a maximum, and I actually believe I’m so worth discussing with, that I can put up standards like that. In order to have a good conversation, I expect to be treated the way I treat my conversation partners, which is with respect, without interrupting, and without underestimating their intelligence. This is what I strive to do, and I neither expect nor accept any less treatment back. To me, these are ground rules when socializing, mingling and debating.
You might even think these are sure things, and that in the Finland of today, any person do this out in public. But sadly, I can inform you that these expectations apparently are categorized as selfish, rude and disrespectful.
Ever heard about double-standards? This is a very precise example. I’m told to stick up for myself and ask for respectful treatment while being polite, of course, but when I do so, I’m laughed off, I’m pushed down, I’m stomped at.
Luckily I don’t care.