Another year is about to drop out of sight and usually around this time I’ll be bursting with collected insights that I simply can’t wait to share with the world. This year, I find that writing does not come naturally, and more often than not I open drafts on my WordPress only to leave them without endings after a few minutes. I can’t seem to sit still enough to even linger on a thought, to give it credence, to let it take root. Recent experiences and end-of-year determination make me want to linger on this particular thought for a while: youth.
2013 was… interesting. You know how sometimes people say their year entirely sucked? I never truly felt that. It was an extremely difficult year for me just by looking at it on paper, but the year does not seem to weigh on me heavily. I’ve had a tough year, many things changed in my life, people came and went, but I also learnt a lot, made lovely friends, and saw the world. I’m not gonna start on a “life is a pile of good things and bad things” sentiment; I simply fail to see why humans measure time in years. Years don’t make sense as a unit of time. We have moments. We have marathons. A year is too short and a year is too long.
And, yet, here I am, making a post about 2013. (As much a product of the human condition as I am a critic of it.) I’m reaching that stage in life where I am becoming more and more acutely aware of my youth and of how quickly it is slipping away.
Just a few days ago, I accompanied my mother, two uncles and two aunts to Thailand for a family trip. As the only “kid” in the group, I must say the experience was entirely different. Most of the time, I sat and listened to their conversations. It’s funny because recently this #yolo phenomenon has taken us captive, and my generation is the instant gratification generation. If something feels good? Do it! (Buy it!) In contrast, so much of what my elders talked about was abstinence. How they should not eat certain foods, and should not do certain things, because they were safeguarding their future by protecting their health. The words “live a little” and “just do what you want!” were hanging on my mouth, but I swallowed them, because I realised then that recklessness is a luxury that only the young can afford. It’s all very well to say that everyone should get to eat everything they want and to live however they want, but at the end of the day, we are accountable, not just to ourselves, but to our loved ones. And life is finite, so one has to be cautious with life.
Youth is finite too, and you know what they say: youth is wasted on the young.
I refuse. I refuse to be doomed to let my youth go to waste. At the risk of quoting John Green, I wish to make a forever within numbered days. So this shall be my hope and effort as we lurch toward 2014. To create. To make. To write. But also to love. To feel. To be. And to work. To give.
You only live once, so tell me, what do you want to get right the first time round?