Us young people are often told by our elders to cherish our youth and the “good times” that come along with it. We are told to be grateful for, and to savor, each passing moment. Why is this? According to our elders, who experienced those good times long ago, your youth brings the best years of your life. Ask college students about the best years of their lives, and they’ll say they’re living them. Ask a newlywed couple what are the best years of their lives, and they’ll say they are living them. The particular years, which a person chooses to cherish, vary with each individual.
When Generation-Y considers the common advice from our elders, the emphasis on what makes these years great is the fact that we are young. The trouble with this viewpoint is that, somehow, it is our young age, which glamorizes these years more so than those of our elders; somehow, life experiences lose their value once we exit these golden years. Personally, the older I get, the more my life experiences mean to me.
I have always stayed hopeful for the future, and it has allowed me to push myself harder to reach my ultimate goal. After high school, I convinced myself that college would be the best years of my life, and for the most part, they were absolutely amazing. Sure, college had its pitfalls, and it wasn’t one big party all the time, but I still felt more fortunate than those who stayed in my hometown and went to college close to home.
And so, even on the toughest nights of studying for an exam, which I thought would be the death of me, I never forgot how lucky I was. Although I only graduated six months ago, I still feel that I was blessed to have experienced everything that my four years at college taught me.
While I loved my college years, I have full faith that the years to come are only going to get better. College was just one chapter of my life, and now I can’t wait to turn the page and see what’s in store for me next. Maybe, just maybe, the years that come after our glamorous youth winds down can be just as amazing. How, you ask? We need to remove defeatist words, like “were” and “used to be” from our vocabularies. Instead, we need to stay hopeful and keep an open mind to new experiences, even as we grow older and life becomes routine.
Instead of focusing on why our college years were the best four years of our lives and four years we are not getting back, why don’t we focus on how we can live the rest of our lives to the fullest, making each year better than the last. We need to stop anticipating the coming years with animosity and just simply embrace them with positivity. None of us truly know what will happen as we progress through the days, so why should we already have a prejudice towards something that hasn’t even happened yet?
It’s human nature to fear the unknown and to hold onto the familiar, but at one time, didn't all new things seem a little scary? Don’t hold onto the familiarity of your youth and miss out on the rest of your life because you are scared of what comes next. We can’t stop the progression of time, but we can control how we react to it. Speaking of progression, we need to stop looking at life as a downward progression. Again, this is looking at life in a defeatist nature.
Life should be looked at as an upward progression. Each experience we have and each memory we make should build onto the other and continue to make you into a better person, like building blocks. A person shouldn’t feel less than those around them because they aren’t the perfect image of youth anymore. Life is an evolution, and we need to start embracing it, not hiding from it.
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