Ruminations

Why I hate the phrase, “madami ka pang pagdadaanan”

Talking with adults is at once exciting and intimidating. After all, they’re the ones with more life experience, so it’s impossible not to gather a few nuggets of wisdom from them. Their advice can carry more weight simply because of the things they’ve seen, and every once in a while their words will ring true. You’ll almost always get an interesting story out of them.
However, I’ve talked to quite a few adults to know that with age comes a certain flavor of condescension. A favorite saying of theirs is “madami ka pang pagdadaanan.” Roughly translated, that means, “You’ll be going through a lot more.” I have particular hatred for that saying, because 1) I don’t want to have to go through more shit, and 2) it implies that nothing I have experienced so far is of any real or lasting value.

I’m sure that these people mean well. They might think they’re just preparing you for more difficult problems down the road. But to me, it comes off as dismissive, to the point that I struggle to open up once they’ve said that magical phrase. For example, if I say I’ve just broken up with my boyfriend? “Bah! When I was your age, I was raising a kid all by myself. You think you have problems?!”
It doesn’t exactly make me want to be your friend. It makes me not want to talk to you because evidently, nothing I’m doing or feeling is significant enough.
I am twenty-one, turning twenty-two in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, dropping the “-teen” suffix from my age didn’t mean I turned into an adult overnight. I still stay up past my bedtime, and I still drink ‘til the wee hours of the morning and have to get up two hours later. I still eat Pringles for lunch (because I can), and flip the bird to the voice in my head that warns me to watch my health. Obviously, there’s much room for improvement.
That said, I do think I have some maturity in me. I pay the bills on time and I’m holding down a job. I have experiences that some older people do not. I know and understand some things better, even if—gasp—I’m only twenty-one. Crazy, right?
Most people have something to offer, whether old or young. If you’re going to talk to me, talk to me like I’m an equal, not like a child. We’ll get along much better.

Ela is a twentysomething who is constantly getting stuck in self-destructive behavior and bouts of low self-esteem. She struggles with depression and writes to relieve herself of her feelings. Sometimes she even blogs about other things like makeup and positivity. One of her pieces was published in the Inquirer Young Blood in October 2017. She likes cats, dogs, and sometimes even people.

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