TOXIC YOUTH CULTURE: LET'S BREAK IT WHILE WE CAN
Toxic youth culture comes in many forms, whether it’s thinking you have to socialize with people everyday or else you won’t have any friends. Thinking that you need to party as hard as all of your friends, and drink and smoke as much as they do. Or thinking you need to succeed before you hit 25 or else you won’t ever be successful. By toxic youth culture, I’m talking about the culture of thinking that you need to succeed before a certain age. The mentality of “it needs to happen now, or it won’t happen at all.” We kill ourselves over the idea that we need ground breaking success now, while we’re young, because it might not come to us later.
Whether this stems from years and years of being told that we might miss our golden opportunity and that we might not be as admirable when we’re older, or by being exposed to so many stories of people becoming successful when they’re young, it’s just not true. There's no expiry date for success, and just because someone else is ahead of us and has succeeded earlier does not defer or delay our success.
We forget that first, we’re students, with crazy busy schedules just for school. On top of that, we’re involved with our school’s extra curricular activities, and other activities outside of school. You might be a writer at your school magazine, part of your school’s sketch troupe, or maybe part of some science club. Whatever it is, it takes more time and energy out of us, on top of school. Other than that, maybe we also have a job or two, which means more time and energy is being stripped from us.
On top of all of that, how dare we add more unnecessary stress on ourselves by thinking we also need to “make it” before we hit the age of 25? We kill ourselves over this; we mentally and physically exhaust ourselves by working way too hard to achieve this “success” when we clearly already have other things to worry about.
Success is not a race, and nothing bad will happen if we let this mentality go and just take everything as it comes.
An instructor of mine once told my class that we don’t give ourselves enough credit. He said that today we woke up, got out of bed, walked to the washroom, brushed our teeth, maybe showered, combed our hair, got dressed, maybe ate breakfast, put our shoes and our coats on, and then left the house and came all the way to class. In between all of that who knows how many other little things you did before you got here, but it isn’t even noon yet and you did all of that. Give yourself some credit.
Although, that might not seem impressive to most, it is! The idea is that we do and give so much, but we only measure how much we do by how well we do in our lives. Stop, take a deep breath, and appreciate yourself for all that you do and allow yourself the peace of knowing that no, you don’t need to be successful now or in five or ten years. Your time will come, there’s no need in stressing about it.
Let us know what you think! Do you ever feel like you have to "make it" before a certain age? Let us know what you want to see more of on the blog, we love hearing from you!