A few weeks ago, I had a friend ask if I thought people grow more or less judgmental as they age. I had not addressed that question because I really did not have an opinion on the subject. Until today.
I was watching the morning newscast when I am suddenly thinking why would a very pregnant on-air personality wear a dress that is at least six inches above the knee? I found myself terrified that if she bent over just a bit, it would be very embarrassing for all of us. In a flash at the same instant, I also found myself wondering why in the world was it any of my business what someone wears on television? Good heavens. I was passing judgment. It was a strangely uncomfortable moment for me. At what time in my life did I become a judgmental person?
Boy, did that open a well of self-evaluation! I have always been an opinionated woman. My opinions, however, are usually based solely on specific personal thoughts and actions, not on the thoughts and actions of others. Webster defines judgmental as “tending to make quick and excessively critical judgments, especially moral ones.” My thought this morning was exactly that: an excessively critical judgment. I was not thinking “wow, that is a very short dress.” I was thinking “why would she wear that dress?” Big difference.
So, when did this begin? Even as far back as my teens, in high school, kids were ridiculously judgmental. We did not believe it a fact, but it was evidenced in the cliques that formed. You either belonged or did not belong based on appearance, abilities, family status, wardrobe, or anything that represented class. Being on the bottom of that food chain, passing judgment did not start with me as a kid. I would be friends with anyone who wanted to be friends with me. Status did not matter.
Thinking further, I do not feel like I have ever been truly judgmental. I have always acknowledged that we are all sentient beings, individual in every way. I may disagree with your attitude or decisions, but you have every right to have them. With the exception of those actions dictated by law, who am I to judge what you think, feel, or do?
Common sense now tells me that the older I get, it appears I am becoming more judgmental. Perhaps it is simply that I judge only because you should be old enough to know better. Life teaches us so many valuable lessons I find it difficult to understand why we do not learn from them. That understanding comes with age and maturity. Life would be so much easier if we just paid more attention.
I guess this all means I have to finally grow up. Times have changed; people have changed. Life in 2021 does not equate to life in the 60’s or 70’s and I cannot expect it to. That innocent culture is forever lost. So, my friend, to answer your question, I believe we do get more judgmental as we age. In our youth, our innocence is pure, and I doubt highly that we were deliberately being truly judgmental. We might have been discriminatory in our choices, but we were just kids, following the morals and standards taught and exhibited by others.
Gosh, there is such responsibility with aging. I liked it much better when I did not give a hoot about what people wear. I think I need to register for a Humility 101 class. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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