You watch your parents struggle and vow that will never be you.
You’re going to have the good life and avoid all the pain you can. Who wants to make life about working, saving, nagging and never going anywhere? No one!
So as soon as you think you’re old enough, you reject the lifestyle your parents have. You’ll never be a slave to your job or be saddled with kids that don’t respect you. You live life like you have something to prove. You have fun, you party, you smoke, you stay up all night and skip school…you go out and do whatever because you want to live life to the fullest. You avoid all responsibility. You buy whatever you can even when you can’t afford it. You don’t like the boundaries that others set for themselves and you see them as a road block to the fun awaiting in your near future. You eat whatever you want and never exercise. You make jokes about those who are disciplined. Or maybe you live like this because you are trying to make yourself feel better about life. You don’t feel like you have a purpose and it bums you out you’re looking for joy.
The sad thing is this careless lifestyle will lead you directly to what you fear the most. Possibly being trapped in a life you didn’t choose for yourself paying back some of the consequences of your actions.
Fast forward to the future where the people you thought were boring are now travelling the world, healthy and living productive lives. They’ve saved and invested into their futures and you are wondering what happened to your life. It isn’t what you wanted or planned but now you’re stuck in a job you dislike with people you’re not sure even like you and you’re a bit iffy as to what’s next.
This is because while you were living for the moment your friends were planning and setting goals for the future they wanted. At a certain point in time there is always a reckoning for what you sow into your life. You can never really go wrong with self-management. As you take control of more areas of your life and live intentionally with your time, health habits, money and relationships you will find that you will reap good feelings about how you are living. You will feel fulfilled even if you don’t get everything you want out of life and eventually something good is bound to come of it.
Those who self-manage as teens step into adulthood with confidence. They’ve built solid habits that can carry them forward. Those that don’t may do the opposite by building habits that lead to destructive behaviours that affect each area of their lives including relationships. Sometimes life’s path takes on twists we never expected and that’s extremely difficult but if we are living as intentionally as we can with what we do know then we can at least have that. I’m not saying you should never have fun I’m just saying not to avoid the difficult well planned path. Even if things don’t go as you did plan you’ll still be poised for other good things to follow. Don’t be afraid of hard work, discipline and delaying gratification. Don’t be too eager to do what everyone else is doing for the fear of missing out. If you are unhappy with your life and using stuff to distract you from dealing with it turn to God, get a counsellor or a life coach. Try finding supportive people to help. Don’t avoid the life you probably need.
Nana Abraham is a speaker, youth activist and author of For Black Girls: The Shaping of a Young Woman– a handbook for life that discusses relevant issues for young women today.