AS I hit 37 this year, I cannot help but to look back at the glorious days of my youth. It was the time of adventure, doing the things on our own steam and enjoying every moment of it.
According to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation website, youth is defined as the age when young men and women complete their education and embark on a life pursuit until they settle down.
This varies between countries and depends on the economy, which may or may not encourage young adults to leave their parents.
To some, my age should be way past my prime. Fortunately, in Malaysia, the Youth and Sports Ministry’s programmes are catered to citizens between age 15 and 40.
So, technically, I may still be considered a “youth” with three more years to go.
Youth is also the time when you and I are likely to experience our “firsts” — first love (marriage, not girlfriend), first degree, first job, first debt — all of which will either scar the rest of our lives or drive us to excellence as we mature.
Some of these “firsts” will bear our testament in history and touch the hearts of others.
For instance, among my peers, I know of doctors who saved lives, businessmen who launched successful companies (including a property developer younger cousin, whom I shall remember as the one who supplied the sanitary wares of the house I bought), lawyers who represented cases that may set a legal precedence, and engineers involved in the construction of landmark projects.
In my case, to cut a long story short, I have published works in academic journals (not so impactful, though), gone on a postgraduate adventure in Kelantan and sold a sex drug around Kuala Lumpur (approved by the Health Ministry, of course) before landing a job in this respected newspaper.
I have also proposed to my girlfriend, got rejected, dated other women, made some money, proposed to the same girl again (which was eventually accepted), tied the knot, and finally, made a baby.
As the International Youth Day approaches on Aug 12, allow me to share three points on why I cherish my youth, which hopefully, will encourage others to live theirs to the fullest.
GO and conquer the world (if you think you can). Fame and fortune may knock at your door any time, but it’s never been better when it’s in your youth.
Whether it’s aiming for the Nobel Prize or making your first millions, or even caring for others in social work, this is the only time of your life when you only live once and be motivated to the maximum.
As you age, you realise your capabilities and reconcile it with how much you achieve. That’s probably where you become wiser and likely won’t invest in ventures that you consider foolish, which leads to…
MY Favourite Mistake. Who wouldn’t recognise this song by Sheryl Crow?
It is believed that she wrote it in hindsight after ending an affair with Eric Clapton. I also have committed so many favourite mistakes in my youth, mistakes that I wish I could go back and undo.
Although independent, I learned that I have to be accountable for so many things when they go awry. I can only imagine the trauma that I put others through in my mistakes. Sometimes, they forgive me and what a relief that is!
I shall always cherish the conscience of being vindicated. Everybody deserves a second chance, and the best time to make up for our mistakes is in the early part of our lives. That brings the final point…
THE First Cut is the Deepest. Another popular tune, this time by Cat Stevens. Remember the “firsts” I mentioned earlier?
When it comes to human lives, nothing is more powerful in shaping our perspective than the first experiences we go through, especially in love.
When we face heartbreak, we resolve not to let others go the path we took. When we achieve success, we want to savour the taste of victory.
Unfortunately, hot-blooded youngsters are not wise in taking a leaf from the book of others, that is until they experience their first cut.
The power of youth knows no bounds and is the best opportunity to seek fulfilment in life.
It should not be lived in regret, nor should it leave us with regret. Whatever we do, we do it to the very best of our abilities.
We should be filled with pride when, in future, we tell our children about our youthful adventures to inspire them.
Source: Kenny GOH, New Straits Times