• PublishedJanuary 11, 2018

Youth is a gift from God, and like His other gifts, it is to be enjoyed and put to good use. Many young people today live their lives wildly, assuming that their youthful years will last forever. At this age when one is full of energy, ideas and zeal of life, it is wise to channel this vivacity to productive activities: otherwise, it can be destructive.

“I wanna live forever young” or “18 till I die” are some of the popular lyrics of hip-hop songs. What a fallacy! Many, if not all of us, would wish to remain young forever. Of course we cant; time wears us off, but we can put our youthful years into good use so that they form the basis of a great future.

The media is awash with stories of young men and women who have wasted their lives in alcohol, drugs or even allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by people who are much older than them for selfish gain such as violence. And when they awaken from the stupor, they get angry at themselves and the world and want to make up for the lost time, too little too late. Sadly, many youth do not apply wisdom in determining a friend from a foe and many end up wasting themselves or allowing others to waste them. Here are a few things to have in mind as a youth to avoid throwing your most productive years away: –

• Your youth is a gift. Every minute you live is a gift from God and should be spent productively because you will be required to account for it one day. This means that you cannot afford to be reckless with your life. Strive to do the things you have always wanted to do and are passionate about, when you have the energy as your youth will not last forever and neither are you promised of tomorrow. Remember that wasted time can neither be recovered nor replaced.

• Accountability is key in life. Many people think accountability is all about giving an explanation of your actions to somebody for something. Though it is good to have one or many individuals who keep you on your toes, it is important to be accountable to yourself first. Unlike during childhood when one is not in charge of their actions, a youth, to a very reasonable extent, is in charge of his acts and who influences his life. Therefore, you must hold yourself accountable for your actions, responsibilities and goals.

When life throws some challenges at you, you ought to remember this quote by Walter Anderson, “I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilised by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”

• Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know your life purpose yet. Many successful people today didn’t know what they wanted to do with their lives at the age of 21. So cut yourself some slack for not having figured out your life’s purpose yet but this is not a green light for you to be complacent, instead, constantly examine yourself to know what makes you tick. Use every opportunity that comes your way including schooling, internship, mentorship and volunteering as an avenue to search deeply for what you love, to re-discover who you are and to ensure that you are living a meaningful life.

These are the moments that will allow you to define your life and push you to greatness. Remember the small, unimpressive moments such as a cleanup exercise in your neighbourhood can be the beginning of finding your passion in life.

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