The Idea of Getting Older

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I should`ve warned myself, but not in this type of confusion. Is it me or is it just the culture? Or it`s solely a trap of being selfish to against common people; or perhaps it`s today`s standpoint that doesn`t fit me at all. Getting older seems overlooked in certain circumstances.

Indonesians are those with a mindset of `kepo` (read: high tendency to always ask and know every matter of others). Such particular behaviour discomforts me to my maximum tolerance. Yes, I am Indonesian by blood; but I`m unsure of assimilating into such trait. Two normal questions that I often face recently are “How old are you?” and “Have you got married or not?”. Most of the time I couldn`t be silent and ended up with mentioning my age and an answer of “no, not yet married”. Then yes, that would be a summit of people`s exaggerating reactions; more questions of `why` and a train of frontline oral judgements expressing how alien myself is.

And me? I`ve only been cold and presented a flat look. I jailed my heart and thinking due to enormous external intervention. Not that I`m an ignorant idiot, I`m just filtering what I should absorb. To certain extent for the Westerns, I`m not old for sure – even it`s an age of productivity and ambitions; but to some Indonesians, seems like no well-being stance for me in this phase.

Got an open-minded Indonesian friend whose age is 5 years beyond me, she said being single and putting career at the top have led to a questionable judgement by her high school peers. Weirdo, is a word for her – while those who said that are women with daster (Indonesian casual dress, worn at home or for sleeping time) carrying babies and cooking the whole day. I don`t say that it`s wrong to be housewives with children, but it`s just not our type of wearing daster, neglecting oily faces and letting smell of onion on our body.  Solely because those women are in a gank, abundant in prevalence and very solid; they could  say anything about us the weirdos and they`re the common type. As we never disturb them, why are they profoundly analytical about us?

The presence of Daster`s ladies has become stereotype of how getting older should be. Like it`s a template of how Indonesian women ought to end up. However, if it`s traced back, many of them were in the workforce; some even were successful ones. It is understood that many got natural call to stop working, getting married and taking care of their babies. Simply, it`s their life and choice. Fair enough. Nonetheless, it doesn`t mean that such pathway is a must to be copied and getting older it`s not the end of life.

This age positioning and unmarried status aren`t only criticised by same generation peers; younger Indonesians born circa 1997 to 2003 also dug me out. Well, they accepted unmarried status better than people in the same batch; but some of them overlooked our existence. Apparently, they were astonished to know that we are updated, hardworkers, smart, innovative enough, well-mannered and problem solvers. Some of them thougt that they`re ready to say goodbye and replace us the soonest. Hello, we`re not 90 years old yet.

As Indonesia is a country that often emphasises “resurrection of the youngsters”, those guys are inspired in a condition of after graduation, they are the ones to take over companies, businesses and leading positions. Nice goals, but they should know that it`s not entirely swallowing up. The seniors are still around to watch your work dear and I should tell you all, success isn`t easy.

Frankly, around ten years ago I was in such thinking as well; I was still in my bursting blood to speed up for success. I thought that the youngsters were the best in creativity and able to develop better companies. But I was wrong. Those seniors with greyish white hair, they`re still the best. They might not be as fast and creative as the young, but they`re highly experienced, mature and mentally tested. I bet Indonesian youngsters should watch CNN more often, to see how American experts interviewed are a lot who are in their greyish white hair. Meaning that their scale has been long years and they`re very respected as a source.

The idea of getting older is supposedly be a point to opt, not to be judged. Different cultures accept maturity in their own perception, but it doesn`t mean that older people who belong inside could be overlooked. Today`s human beings are those assimilated with many external influences; so there should be no questions of how he or she is like what. The daster`s ladies and young generations born circa 1997 to 2003 aren`t wrong, it`s just a matter of acceptance towards different assumptions. And as a person today, I feel more like putting myself just in the right situation. Speak out where I could, be silent to appreciate the elders, listen to younger people to understand; because there always be our turn to be born, young, older and being truly old persons. If we all could accommodate our current circumstances in the right portion, I bet we`re all doing just awesome.


Anisa Kirana | 2017 | Photo credit: Renatha Wisaksono

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