When you hear the word “youth” what do you think of? Maybe a youth Sunday service or something…What do you picture? Maybe a fountain. Or a teenager smoking a cigarette and riding his skateboard through the catacombs of the city (hence this thumbnail). The meaning of “young” is subjective. What is young? To some people, “young” means actual children. For others its the twenties. The thirties. Anything under 50…
But I’ll define it as the time where you have the wiggle room to make bad decisions. I’ll rephrase…Stupid decisions with low opportunity costs. Some people don’t have that luxury because of others counting on them or whatnot.
Youth is a time to experiment with different things and figure out who you are. To figure out who you want to be. However, with cancel culture and social media’s omnipotent presence, this is changing and becoming something to demonize.
When we’re young, there’s this invincible feeling of being a vampire and living forever. But, this isn’t always true. I’m reminded of people I grew up with who were murdered. Whether over tennis shoes, or just being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Appearance-wise you don’t have to worry about wrinkles and aging like bananas. Ironically, when you’re a kid, you can’t wait to grow up. Then, once you finally do you’d give anything to be a child again. If I were to grow up with the experiences and know-how I have now, it’d be great. But, we can’t reinvent the past. Maybe if I took school more seriously and began with the end in mind, some things would be different.
Pros of Youth
1. Leeway for Mistakes
Again, there’s a feeling of invincibility concomitant with youth. There’s also leeway that people extend for younger people when they make mistakes. Typically. Society wants to change that though. For instance, Sha’Carri Richardson’s having to forgo the Olympics because of smoking weed.
Or even the people who dug up Sha’Carri Richardson’s old tweets defending Chris Brown for beating Rihanna. These folks must not have anything better to do with their time than go after this young girl. She still has time to mature and she seems to do a good job of handling her business already!
Age is in fact just a number. Some people can be old and dumb, while others can be childhood prodigies. Let that girl run! Her reasoning was her having a difficult time coping with the loss of her mom. Personally, I can understand her ethos firsthand.
Self-indulgence drives many of our behaviors when we’re young. I’ve done so many things I never foresaw myself doing as a child. Bad, good, and benign things. From getting a tattoo, facial piercing, to living in multiple foreign countries.
It’s because I enjoy that freedom to do so and don’t have to answer to anyone. I even remember being a teenager sneaking out to pool parties and returning home at 6am. With the advent of social media, it’s stripped the normalcy of it all.
Cons of Youth
1. The frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for making decisions doesn’t develop until you’re 25.
The frontal lobe is a particularly vulnerable part of the brain and is vital and crucial for our personal and cognitive growth. Damage to the frontal lobe during the formative years can affect development.
It’s like the “control panel” of our personality and ability to communicate. It controls emotional expression, problem-solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behaviors. This could explain why so many young people don’t know how to communicate anymore i.e. petty internet beefs, ghosting etc.
2. Youth aren’t taken seriously
This is called “ageism” (yep, another -ism). Because most people associate youth with naivete, irresponsibility, and immaturity, they have a bias against listening to or lending credence. In the workplace, families, and almost any type of social circle you can think of. This stereotype doesn’t apply to everyone though. Some of us have worked all our lives and had to be more responsible earlier than our peers.
3. There are no good role models.
Today, there’s a real shortage of healthy, positive role models. Especially for men. Unless you want to be a pimp, street pharmacist, or bottom-tier male. Good influences are oftentimes few and far between. I can speak to this firsthand as someone who’s just finished his first crime fiction book “Implicated: Crazy Chicanos & Americanos.” There aren’t many people I can consult or talk to about getting it from my computer to editing, then publication.
(Teaser: set in Washington, DC and partially set in Mexico. My main character finds out his “borrowed” flash drive has been stolen by someone else. He also finds out there’s an encrypted file on there linked to an account worth $100k. 240+ pages of eccentric characters: Immigrants, criminals. a voodoo priest, & a rising star politician.) Hit me up if you want a copy of the PDF. I’m selling them for $20 USD!
Society has become desensitized to the magic of life and thus don’t appreciate it. The wonder of living on this rock rotating, floating in the middle of nowhere yet we don’t even feel it! Youth is wasted on the young because we have not yet taken inventory of all the aforementioned things and adapted accordingly. When will that change?!