Agesim can affect us at any age. It is not just about older or about younger people, it is about all of us. We can all feel its heavy and negative power at any point in our lives. In this story we hear from 28 year old Danish, Berlin based psychologist, Johanne Schwensen about her experiences on becoming a psychologist. She shares how she was made to feel as a younger member of the profession that she was "too young" to be able to have skills as a psychologist because she had "not lived long enough".

Words by Johanne Schwensen.

Hi, I’m Johanne, a 28-year-old Danish psychologist and relatively new mother, living in Berlin. I’ve become quite relaxed about my age, because for some reason I see the age-span of 28 to 38 as super neutral. It kind of feels like you’re neither too old or too young to do anything according to society and most cultural norms. Besides, the only freakishly arbitrary age-related dream I’ve ever had in my life was becoming a mother before 30, and this was fulfilled 10 months ago, when my daughter Nola was born. I don’t completely understand why I wished for that, except that my mother had me pretty young and I admire my mother quite a lot.

I was kind of embarrassed to reveal my age at work when I was a few years younger than I am now. I’d sometimes be met with comments which suggested that my age somehow prevented me from being able or experienced enough to do my job properly. That made me afraid as I kept thinking that I was being judged; that as a psychologist in her twenties, I really was being seen as a psychologist who, “hasn’t had enough experience and doesn’t know enough about the world,” to do good job. 

"I was kind of embarrassed to reveal my age at work when I was a few years younger than I am now."

Johanne Schwensen.

But, in the last year, having Nola and spending time with her on parental leave has somehow given me enough perspective and a degree of calmness to be able to return to work without the fear of being age judged. Nola makes me happy and secure. It has to do with my age in the sense that my goal in life to simply “have a family”, has been accomplished. So now I can relax for the the rest of my life, haha. 

I don’t imagine that I’m friends with anyone who is ageist, as my friends include people of all ages. I learn from people older than me about the things that are worth investing time in and younger people remind me how to keep dreaming and keep nourishing my curiosity. If we worked together across all ages in general, it would mean less division, more compassion.

"I’d sometimes be met with comments which suggested that my age somehow prevented me from being able or experienced enough to do my job properly."

Johanne Schwensen.

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