I believe in youth. Too soon forgotten once the threshold into adulthood is crossed, youth lives inside of everyone—the old and the young. Youth lets our creativity flow and our imagination run wild; it frees us from worries; it makes us appreciate life.
But sooner or later we become adults, and a part of us dies. Some are forced to mature as a result of hardships; others step up to the responsibility. Either way, our lives are dramatically altered by the change. The imagination and freedom slowly disappears. Refusing to settle for a balance, too many slip into a lonely world of worries and sameness.
Today, youth is something we steer ourselves away from. Even children are taught to focus on school, on the future, on leaving youth behind. No one tells kids to hang on tight to this time in their lives anymore. No one reminds them they should enjoy this. No one says to relax and just be the kid they are.
Anyone can look at a child and know they are not adults. It’s clear. But everyday, endless amounts of kids are tied into the restraints of a dress code–preschoolers learning Spanish in preparation for their high school classes, lined up like robots in matching white polos. As children grow, parents and teachers pay no mind to importance of youth, and rush along the last bit of this time with important tests and college applications.
At a young age, we are fortunate enough to have youth handed to us. Almost every child posses the quality, but it is ripped away as we reach adulthood. Youth is not something that should disappear as we become older. If there is anything we should carry with us throughout life, it is youth.
What I believe most adults have forgotten is this: youth doesn’t always come with age. It comes with the willingness to want to open your heart and experience life without the hectic schedules, mandatory meetings, and pressing appointments. I believe that youth is the part of us that keeps us sane. Youth pushes our limitations as humans, inspiring people to create. Grown –ups may dismiss youth as a trait of the past, but the happiest adults know the truth.
I believe that youth is what we are missing. Regardless of the number of years you’ve gained, youth is there. And it’s waiting for us to find it. Whether you are someone that is being cheated out of your childhood, or an adult bound to your duties, youth is what you are missing.
I believe youth has the power to change people. It can bring us closer together, and if adults can remember what it feels like to be young, maybe they can understand their kids; maybe they can try and pass youth along to those around them. I believe youth should be remembered.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.