You know you have Young Adult Syndrome when you’re expected by your elders to run on the infinite batteries of youth because, well, you have the elixir of youth instead of orange juice for breakfast, don’t you? When your middle-aged or older relatives start getting aches and pains, they look at you lounging in your easy chair and go, “Look at you, get me this, that and the other, and then go around and pick that up, and don’t make that face, you’re still young!” I know immediately getting up and obeying is what is proper, but I confess it does get tiring when you can’t sit still for any amount of time because the elders have you get up every few minutes to do something or – icing on the cake – don’t even let you sit down between one task and the other. OK, yeah, I’m complaining, but hear me out: I’m trying to make a point here.
The point is this: we youngsters don’t run on electricity. More importantly, youth – as the previous generation remembers it – is not at all the same as the youth this generation has received. We’re getting aches and pains and blood pressure and what not way before they did. We don’t have the same diet, the same routine; therefore, we don’t have the same energy. You can knock down all the energy drinks you want, but you still can’t beat the natural high that your parents and grandparents got when they were young. Now that I’ve touched upon grandparents, let me appreciate that since they have observed the youth of their children, they are not so hard on their grandchildren. They have seen their children succumb to “old age diseases” twenty years before they did; they have seen them lose sleep and age quickly, and therefore they don’t expect a higher quality of youth two generations down the road. They are realistic, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Why? That is because as far as parents are concerned, they have yet to realise that generation Y, or alpha omega Cornetto (whatever one we’re on now), is not as rough, tough and ready to rumble as they were. We’ve had the juice sucked out of us by our erratic sleep patterns, wonky food intake, and you know all the rest. I can’t help but suspect that there is some underlying factor beyond all this that affects the vitality of youngsters. Perhaps it’s just being above the poverty line that makes us so feeble. The youth working away in the fields and furnaces seems to be as lively as ever, or maybe that is just how I see it.
Don’t get me wrong, the youth is engaged in as many productive and constructive efforts as ever before. Whether it be the skill of churning out perfectly crafted fondant rosette after rosette on a handmade made-to-order cake, or raising money for a good cause, the youth has it and knows how to rock it. However, you have to talk to teachers, or other people who observe year after year to know how depression cases are increasing and emotional disturbances are spreading. All work and no play may make Jack a dull boy, but an entertainment-focused lifestyle is sure to get to your nerves in the end. It’s like Sean Covey says in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers: family, friends, entertainment, school and all the rest are part of your life. Any one of them should not be the centre of your life. Your life should be principle-centred (honesty, hard work, faith, and so on are principles) because principles never fail you.
Still, I think even if become principle-centred, we cannot live as voraciously and energetically as our grandparents or even parents did. We have to find our own niche in the world and live as healthful and balanced a life as possible, with our own level of highs and lows. Also, we have to grow a thick skin against carefree remarks made about youth, because in the end, we are still going to hear the same old, “You’re young! You should be full of life!” comments from our good old parents.
Originally published in Us Magazine, The News: