Monday, June 13, 2011

The Trouble with Youth

♫"Children waiting for the day they feel good. Happy birthday. Happy birthday.  Want to feel the way that every child should. Sit and listen. Sit and Listen....I find it kind of funny. I find it kind of sad.  The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had."♪

There is something alluring about the Gary Jules version of that song.  It's haunting.  The part I've put here has always resonated--"Children waiting for the day they feel good."

One thing I can definitely say, being a youth myself, is that we are always striving for the day we feel good.  Through the angst of adolescence and very early adulthood, the mentality almost always seems to be "my life sucks, and no you couldn't understand me--I'm so complex."
Even for those who were relatively happy or had a minimal amount of drama in their lives still could play the tune of "My life is so hard" or "If only I had this I would be happy" without ever having practiced.

I had a rather blessed upbringing.  I didn't want for much, and I had parents who weren't "on my case" or "ruining my life".  That didn't stop me from feeling as though I couldn't wait to get older--couldn't wait to date--couldn't wait to get out of high school (and then college)--couldn't wait to...

Well, does it matter?  I couldn't wait.  Nothing is ever enough because there is always the next step.  Someone always has something we want.  This mentality doesn't apply to only children, but to adults as well.  Regardless, it is children who tend to think beyond their station and get themselves into trouble that, when they look back, could have so easily been avoided.  (yes, yes, I know, adults do it too).

Just tonight I found an old "note" on Facebook that a friend of mine had posted.  The content is irrelevant, but the 50 comments that followed made my stomach churn a little.

Around seven or eight 18 year old kids were having what they deemed to be an intelligent conversation surrounding a controversial subject.  While there were one or two on each side keeping their heads cool, there were also the blaring majority typing as fast as their angry little fingers could manage.  The words exchanged back and forth seemed to be coming from an intellectual or logical foundation, but in truth it was children pretending to be grownups.

As I read the posts--two of the fifty were even from myself--I felt a sense of sadness that always wells up inside me when I look back at how teenagers believed themselves to be adults.  The posts had foul language, hurtful and hateful digs, and angry words spattered all over the page. 

It wasn't new to me.  It was a topic that I seemed to face weekly.  It was something that I had discussed more thoroughly and in depth in high school then I have ever done since.  A part of me wondered if it was because I had grown weak or impassive--did I not care about a subject that once led me to watch others battle over while I occasionally gave my two cents? 

Truth is, the subject hasn't made me angry or over zealous since I made the mistake of allowing my temper to get the best of me my sophomore year.  I may not have been involved in the heated portion of the argument, but that didn't mean I didn't come across it.  Just because I wasn't angry didn't mean the person I was talking to remained calm.  So do I still care?

Yes. Deeply. Passionately.  Endlessly.  The thing that changed is time.  The people I converse with about this subject are older, calmer, and more willing to accept both sides without anger or hate.  When I or another brings up this topic, it is dealt with in a loving and respectful way because I love and respect the people I am discussing it with regardless of their differing views.  They, in turn, love and respect me.  There is no argument, only discussion.

Now, this doesn't mean that the eight individuals from my teens could carry on this same conversation without yelling just because they are older.  No, not all adults carry themselves with love and respect for their fellow man.  There are still men/women well into adulthood who turn red with shouting about this subject at each other--worrying only about being right.

When arguing with a friend, if you are just trying to win the argument, there is a chance you can ruin the friendship.  I heard a saying: "You can win the battle, but you may have well lost the war."

In my controversy--Christianity--is it worth it for me to lose a friend and potentially have lost their soul just to have proven my point that a Biblical fact is indeed a proven fact?  Will yelling at them until they have no opposing point that can stand on two legs, therefore proving that I have crushed them into the ground, really be any help at all to our friendship?

How easy it is to be young, and yet we treat it like the most difficult time of our lives.  We act as though the slightest problem can crumble our world--the day is ruined because my friend did not smile at me when she walked by.  My life is over because that boy started dating a girl that isn't me.  My life is so hard. You couldn't understand.  No, no, your poverty holds no candle to my latest frenemy situation; those starving in third world countries, and those starving in the US have no contest when it comes to my bad hair day or ruined date.

Even as I type this, I am sure that I will come back to it in so many years and laugh.  I may chuckle and think "How mature I believed I was to see this.  What insight I believed I had.  If only I'd known that____" Fill in the blank here, all you who are older than I.  Those who actually know the hardships and troubles life can bring.

But for those that are young I say this--Life generally isn't that hard.  There are always exceptions to the rule, and those youths truly do have it hard.  The likelihood that you reading this are one of them though, is close to nill.  You have a computer, and likely a facebook.  You are in some sort of shelter, and hopefully you have not had to go hungry at any time in your life.  Hopefully you know what love is (no, teens, not romantic love. Quit whining about it. You're too young for it anyway).  Hopefully you can (eventually) have a good relationship with your parents and siblings.  Hopefully you know that your life will be alright.

Hindsight is 20/20.  Tomorrow you'll know what you could've done today to prevent it being "so awful".  The hard truth is that you can't change it.  Yesterday has happened and you can't take back any action you did.  You can't undo it--but you can apologize for it.

I apologize to any who hold my actions against me.  Perhaps I was unaware of what I did--or perhaps I did it on purpose.  I can only hope the foolishness of my youth will not have to haunt me in adulthood.  This might have become more of a rant than an insightful composition, but sometimes ranting can be good for the soul.

Go have a good rant to someone you trust.  You'll feel long as the rant isn't about them ;).

A few fun facts:
  • Spell check tried to change "frenemy" into fr. enemy.  This made me think of French Enemy. Ha!
  • More then 10 people a year are killed by vending machines
  • The Bible is not only the world's bestselling is also the most shoplifted...and it has been translated into Klingon.

1 comment:

nikki! said...

Nice kels! oh and btw the bible is also being translated into lolcat!