Thirty-teen: The Non-Trad Experience
On Tuesday, March 28, feminist icon Gloria Steinem visited Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown. As soon as I heard she was coming, I knew I had to see her. How often do you get a chance to see, in the flesh, someone who is actually living history?
I got an extra ticket and invited my friend and coworker from the Jambar, Samantha, to come with me. Sam is a 20-year old YSU student who, up until recently, had aligned herself with far more conservative and right wing values. Being in college and working with many liberal-minded individuals at the paper seems to have had an influence on her, and she is now a fledgling feminist.
It’s inspiring to watch someone evolve into a new version of themselves, and it reminds me how much I too have grown.
Sam was not familiar with Steinem, but she said after seeing her that it opened her eyes to issues women face. I was honored to be part of her experience.
It interesting being back in school as a “non-trad” and having the opportunity to get to know someone who is much younger and who I wouldn’t ordinarily cross paths with. Being around someone who is in a period of mental growth like Sam is and then having the opportunity to share some of my experiences and acquired knowledge as a contribution is a tremendous privilege.
Sam and my other younger cohorts also help to teach me. Being in the position to need to reboot my life in my 30’s after tremendous failures had left me feeling pretty lousy about the whole thing. But having younger friends has made me understand that all my experiences were not for nothing. I have learned, I have evolved, just as Sam is currently, and I continue to grow now. I would not be at this mostly enjoyable point in my life if it hadn’t been for my mistakes.
I’m fortunate to have learned that lesson.