Youth is wasted on the young, they say. Only a few years back I would be the first one to sign this. I was the 19 year old worrying about not having a retirement fund and simultaneously, about not partying enough. The twenties were just gleaming on the horizon and I was determined not to waste a single second of what seemed like a shiny new era.
The Carpe Diem Gone Wrong
This mindset didn’t get me as far as I thought. What started as a burning efficiency finished in a crippling state of permanent FOMO: whichever ambition I pursued, I felt like there was a dozen of much better options out there just slipping away from me. I’d be blaming myself for not working on my writing project when working out, but then again, once I sat down behind my desk to write, I felt frustrated not to invest in my social life more. And the list went on – you get the picture. I was doing all the right things but somehow, each of them felt like a terrible mistake. After nearly two years of this lunatic lifestyle, I found myself back on the starting line.
I was doing all the right things but somehow, each of them felt like a terrible mistake.
Aged twenty one, I could look back and think exactly this: I did some things very well & I really screwed up a few times & the number of things I haven’t done is still a multiple of what I’ve actually done.
Excellent, I thought to myself, this is apparently the live broadcast of my youth being wasted. Every achievement could be assigned to at least two what ifs. While the parallel universes full of parallel Kristynas kept expanding, it didn’t occur to me once that worrying so intensively about eliminating the time waste is… well… time consuming, to begin with.
The Wasteland of Missed Opportunities
Twenties, just as every decade in the eyes of the society, is an era full of expectations that have to be fulfilled. For some reason though, it’s usually our youth that is mostly linked to what can medically be described as chronophobia – a fear of time passing. The only cure to chronophobia seems to be the kind of youth you won’t regret later. Easy, huh. Trouble is, the guiding voices are often contradictory and nobody EVER explains you how on earth are you supposed to have fun dating new people & build a stable relationship & create memories with your friends & travel the world & pursue your dream career & save up money & live your days and nights to the fullest all in the same time, naturally while wearing SPF and getting 8 hours of sleep.
You might feel tempted to yield to one of these voices and go in one direction – only to find yourself on a new crossroad thirty minutes later. When you’re trying to live out your youth without any possible regrets piling up in the corner, you inevitably end up in a wasteland of missed opportunities.
The Lived Out Youth
It might seem like we lack the guidance in order to juice our youth out. Considering all the surplus advices available both online AND offline, I’d politely disagree. I don’t want to skim through my twenties as if swishing down a segment line from A to B. I don’t want to be a professional box-ticker. I want to become a person who can embrace failure and regrets as natural foundations of success. That involves lot of stumbling, weeping, slumping, crashing down and tearing up. It might also involve shutting up all the voices telling you to avoid things you might regret later – including the voice resonating in your head.
I want to become a person who can embrace failure and regrets as natural foundations of success.
They say that youth is wasted on the young. But nobody tells you that youth is meant to be wasted. And only the young know how to waste it right.