If you looked up youth in the dictionary, it would be likely defined as the time before adulthood. If you had even more free time, you could look up young and find that it typically refers to someone or something that is not very old. They sound like the same thing. They’re not, though – and I never gave it much thought until last night when I heard someone say “My mom always says to me – ‘youth is wasted on the young.”
The most simple reason that these two words aren’t interchangeable is because youth is a noun whereas young is an adjective. That’s why there aren’t any popular rappers named Youth Joc, Youth Jeezy, or Youth Money. If you ask me, young is just the opposite of old. But youth is a spirit, a mindset, a way of living. Youth is an abundance of free time with minimal responsibilities. Youth is bad decisions and good memories. Youth is doing the things you want simply because you want to. Youth is fun. Youth is happy. Youth is good.
Young is hard to define, but to me, it lasts from birth to when one no longer has to heavily depend on his or her parents/legal guardians. Generally, people have the most youth when they’re young because they don’t have serious responsibilities. But often, they waste it by not appreciating it enough.
In my opinion, a lot of young individuals take their youth for granted because they believe that they have so much time ahead of them. I think the concept of people writing bucket lists came from the combination of much youth and time. If you don’t know, a bucket list is a list of things one wishes to accomplish before dying. There’s a movie about it titled The Bucket List, which is how the term was coined and also how the practice became popular. I made my own years ago, and it included planting sunflowers and donating blood.
Bucket lists are a great concept. But you know where us youngsters screw up? When we fail to do any of it. I mean, I probably could’ve convinced my mother to buy me sunflower seeds and a pot the day I wrote it down on that piece of paper. And I could’ve taken soil from our backyard. Also, I’ve been eligible to donate blood for two years now and I still haven’t done it. What have I been waiting for?
When we’re young, we have all this potential and all of these things we want to do – but we think we have time so we put it off. That’s really bad. Stop wasting your youth! If you want to do something, and nothing is stopping you – go do it. If you want to do something, and you can – go do it. If you want to do something, but you need to save up money or plan in advance or convince someone, or there’s some obstacle you must overcome – figure out how to do it. Youth is wasted on the young, but just because you’re young doesn’t mean that you have to waste your youth.
I guess I could turn this into a “one day you’ll be old and you’ll wonder where the hell your life went so don’t regret wasting your younger years” speech, but that’s so miserable and untrue. I think this is an idea that many of us believe in, though. I’m talking about the idea that once you’re no longer young, your life will stop being enjoyable because you’ll have to thoroughly immerse yourself into paying bills, taking care of your children and anything else boring.
While trying to define youth without quoting the dictionary, I remembered that there’s actually a song by titled “Youth” by the band Daughter. It’s one of the better songs I’ve heard – something you’d listen to before falling asleep or on a long drive alone. The lyrics of this song that stand out to me the most are “And if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones. Cause most of our feelings, they are dead and they are gone.”
They are dead and they are gone. Is it really that uncommon to see older adults (like 30ish and older) doing crazy, fun activities? I’d say yes. A few weeks ago, I saw a documentary titled Under the Electric Sky. It’s about Electric Daisy Carnival (commonly called EDC) – The United States’ largest music festival. The one that takes place in Las Vegas is three days long. There’s a lot of fireworks, lights, and fire throughout the festival grounds. EDM (electronic dance music) plays from dusk to dawn. The sadder part of this event is that it’s well known for drug – related overdoses and even deaths. Staying up all night to tire oneself out in a setting filled with drugs and over 300,000 strangers three times in a row isn’t a sensible decision – but it’s a fun one if you ask me. With an hour and a half to spare, I lived vicariously through this film . (Which is on Netflix, by the way.)
The film follows multiple people attending the festival in 2013. There’s Jim and Jenna, a couple in a long distance relationship about to reunite to experience EDC together. Jim’s in Tokyo while Jenna is in New York. Also, we learn about a group of men traveling from Massachusetts in an RV. My favorite story was the one of Alli and Matt – a couple who fell in love at EDC fifteen years ago, had children, and still continues to embrace the electric sky and all it has to offer.
Did you notice a pattern? Each story is special in some way. A couple that stayed together while living on different continents is remarkable. Massachusetts to Las Vegas in an RV?! That’s 2,705 miles on the road according to Google Maps. People old enough to have a family attending EDC? Older people? Having fun? That’s uncommon and thereby intriguing – which is why they’re one of the featured stories. Well, their love story is also pretty cool. But I think it’s the “oldies at EDC” thing that landed them a spot in the movie.
Alli and Matt might have years behind them, but they’re embracing their youth – and that’s beautiful. Well then, why is this so rare? Do people feel that as they grow up, most of their feelings become dead and/or gone (as stated in “Youth”) and as a result, they can’t participate in typical youngster activities? Because that’s not entirely true. Of course, life changes once you have a stable career and possibly a spouse and/or kids. You have actual things to worry about and you can’t be as carefree anymore.
Yes, youth is wasted on the young – but your youth doesn’t completely disintegrate once you’re no longer young. It decreases, but it’s still there. You can go to EDC after having kids. But also, you can stay up all night reading a novel and go to work sleep deprived because it was what you wanted to do. You can eat the cookie and the other cookie and the other cookie. I hope that you live long enough to stop being young. But I hope that you don’t throw your youth away.
Young people – stop wasting your abundance of youth. Not as young people – continue to enjoy life, because you can and because you should.