When you get to about Year 6 you look back down at the kindergarten kids and think, “God they’re so tiny and useless, was I ever that tiny? I was not that tiny. And they’ve got it so easy, with their naptimes and fingerpainting. I’ve got a huge social studies project to do plus Little Athletics after school. I got no time for napping.”
Then you start high school and you look back at the Year 6’s and say “Oh those Year 6’s think they’re so great, but they know nothing of the real world, I mean I get like an hour of homework every night. Then there’s peer pressure and hair in strange places.”
In Year 12 when your ears are bleeding with stress, you look down at everything from Year 7 upwards with great derision. Especially the Year 10s and 11s with their eyeliner and attitude problems and the underage drinking like they just invented it. “Pah. Silly bitches. You have no idea what you’re in for in Year 12. The pressure. The expectation. The fate of the world resting on your exam results.”
Then when you hit university it’s time to scoff at the foolish Year 12 students moaning about their stupid, inconseqential exams. “I stayed up all night writing this highly complex essay, man. You have no idea about the rigours of academic life.”
As soon as uni is done and you’re thrust into a Real Job, you can then walk by a university campus and sneer, “Oh look at those decadent, selfish layabouts. Making eyes at each other on the library lawn. All that shagging and recreational drug use and sleeping in til noon, they’ll get a shock when they get into the Real World! Long hours with poor pay and little recognition! Oh ho ho! My word yes!
Then the 30 and 40-something management types roll their eyes at me if I dare to look stressed, “You’re a young pup, you have no idea about stress, wait til you’ve got the CEO breathing down your neck, a mortgage, three kids, a cheating husband and VARICOSE VEINS, dammit, then you’ll know what life’s all about!”
You can feel superior and sage at any age, as long as there’s someone around slightly greener than yourself. How long does this go on? Does it get to a point where we no longer feel the need to feel more wise and worldly than someone else, or does the drooling 90-year-old dame in the nursing home say to the 80-year-old dame with the crocheted blanket, “Listen lovie, shut up about your arthritis, you’ve got no idea about the Real Pain. When you hit the big nine oh and your breasts finally dangle all the way down to your toes and you can’t watch The Bill for your cataracts, THEN you’ll have something to complain about.”