I was watching KTN’s Livewire the other day and the discussion was about age in politics. The debate was largely centered on William Ruto saying the CORD alliance was full of old people. That Kenya needed youthful leaders who happen to be in the Jubilee coalition. John Kiarie “KJ” pointed out that you could be young, but you will not bring change to this country and vice versa. As they kept debating back and forth, I started thinking about age and the number of situations where it comes first in our mind.

For the longest time the phrase ‘age is nothing but a number” has been used. When you start dating, the age factor always comes into play. The age difference is always a big deal for people. You don’t want to date someone more than five years older than you; they have to be above twenty-two years. It’s always the same thing; age makes someone more mature, more ready for the relationship. Some people believe ladies should only date someone five years older. Men mature slower than them; the age difference puts them on the same maturity level. I really do not understand this logic. If someone wants to be in a relationship, he will. His age does not matter, what matters is his willingness to be in it and to stick it through.

When children are joining school, age is always a factor. They have to be six or seven years old to be allowed into primary. Any child below that age is forced to stay home till they reach the right age. The notion is that kids at age six can understand and write better than their younger counterparts. But how true is this fact? Some children start reading and writing at the age of three. By age six, they are far more advanced than a nine year old child who started reading at age five. So why does age play a part in admission to school? Why can’t children be allowed in through testing their intelligence alone?

Voting, drinking, getting a national identity card, vying for elections, when to retire, everything has an age limit to it. Most people believe that the older you are the better you are at making decisions. We all look down on people who are younger than us. People older than you treat you like a fool; they think your opinions are irrelevant since you haven’t seen much of the world and how it works at your age. .

There are times you apply for a job, then they call you in for the interview and you impress them but they turn you down because to them you are too young or because you do not have the required eight years job experience. At the age of twenty-two is it really possible to have that much experience? Is it right to turn away someone simply because they are below thirty years old? If someone is qualified in all other aspects, why is the age a problem? Shouldn’t they be given a chance to prove they can do the job?

Why have we decided to make age such an important thing in life? Everywhere you go people need to know your age. I see how older people are considered more mature and responsible but why can’t young people be given the benefit of the doubt? Granted that age helps us in terms of stopping underage drinking and sex, is there any other reason why someone above the age of eighteen should be judged based on age? At the end of the day, you may be old but you are just as immature as someone who is sixteen years old. You might be young but your way of thinking outs you on the same level as someone who has worked for thirty-five years and lived for fifty years. If you want to marry someone older or younger than you, I think you should do it. What matters is how compatible you are not how old they are.

Is age really that important in life?