Truth - Nobody stays young forever. While we may physically age who we are on the inside does so at an entirely different rate. Age does not necessarily equate wisdom or experience. Many a person has been born, lived, and passed all within the minute confines of the microcosms, communities, and insulated bubbles we exist in. Is that living? It depends on what your definition of life is, besides who are we to judge the lives of others lest we welcome the same scrutiny ourselves. The spirit of youth of is alive within each and every one of us if only we allow it to be carefree, adventurous, and genuine - long live the youth.
"Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life." Samuel Ullman
Ageism is prejudice, bias, and discrimination based on age or perceived age. All those times that you were told that your opinion was invalid because you were too young to understand or that you hadn't lived enough to know anything, yeah, that's what ageism looks like. It can have serious ramifications particular in the seemingly neverending job search that plagues my generation. Employers want us to be young, spry, and with it but come complete with a decade's worth of experience. The hard truth is that most people learn the majority of what they need to do in the day to day expectations of their job at no other place other than their jobs. Of course some prior knowledge and basic understandings of your major functions is necessary but each organization runs differently, the notion that potential employees should come fully ready to fulfill their duties is an unrealistic ideal. People must be given the opportunity to gain experience before they have experience to offer. A paradox is created in this necessitation of experience wanted just to get experience. It makes absolutely no sense. Somebody has to take a risk, but isn't ever hire just that? You can never truly know how someone will perform in a workplace until you in fact see them perform in said work environment. No one is asking for expectations to be lowered, but rather they should be reexamined as well-qualified and undiscovered talent is being passed up too often. The youth will not stand to be ignored.
 My generation is one full of big dreamers with gargantuan machinations that are nothing short of larger than life. We were raised being told we could do anything we put our minds to and we have every intention of doing just that. This retracted sentiment from our predecessors is more than disheartening, it's facetious. You taught us to think beyond the limits of the bubbles we find ourselves and create the world we want to live in. How can you be both our biggest proponents and our greatest opposition concurrently? If you believe those inspirational words about us then let us flourish instead of stifling our potential. Let us grow, let us run, let us soar, let us fall, and let us rise again. That encouragement has sustained our generation for it to be contradicted perpetuates our disconnection, and delusions of grandeur. You have told us the world works one way, and yet treat us are if it no longer has room for folly, wonder, and imagination. Did you not dream yourself? Did you follow your heart? Are you happy with the life you've lived, the impacted you've had, and the world you brought us into? Let us do the same. Let us figure it out. Let us change the world while we still have the undeniable power that is our youth.

Maybe some of the things I want in life are unattainable, irrational, or next to impossible but those are the things that I want. That is my prerogative. I lie awake listening to the sounds of the noir night noises of the city. Street sweepers whirring, sirens whining, and trains trudging past is the soundtrack to my stoic moments. Ideas, thoughts, and plans run through my head. I build whole stories, and play who epic sagas within the corners of my mind. I turn over and furiously scribble onto sticky notes on my side table. I stand in the shower having visions of the future in my mind's eye. I listen to music and make swift, decisive moves as the melody washes over me. I am a dreamer - it is my namesake. I believe in purpose, potential, and passion. I have an idea of what I am capable of, and yet I still remain shocked about all that I am able to accomplish. I am contemplating how I want to be remembered  and the ways in which I want to change my world for the better. I'm going to change lives. I'm going to rewrite, and scribe new histories. I'm going to make sure people know that they matter, have value, and are loved. I'm going to give the entirety of who I am, what I have to offer, and my youth to others. I want to know that expended all the energy I have. I want to live my life improving the lives of others through empowerment.

Whenever I want to give up I think of all those who are doing what they love. The scale may range but the action is the same. Find what you care about and pursue it to no end. I think of all the young people just like who are taking action, picking their path, and carving our their place in the history books. Doctors, lawyers, educators, politicians, Olympians, scientists, journalists, inventors, and the list goes on and on. Tom Daley, John Boyega, Malala Yousafzai, all doing magnificent things in their own ways. Maybe my talents may thrust me into the spotlight and maybe they won't but all I know is that I am tasked with using what gifts I have been given to make the world a better place for all those who call it home. Whether it's on a global scale or just in my mundane interactions one-on-one, my actions, words, behaviors, and attitudes have to be reflection of who I am, and who I aspire to be. Everyone is watching, waiting, and wondering just what I'll do with my youth.

To my generation I say, it's not up to anyone else to remind you that you are powerful beyond belief. It's on us to shape this world the way we want to. We have to use all that we have been given to make change. Our greatest asset is ourselves, if we best know how to do so productively. Build from the foundation that has been before us instead of starting again. Pay tribute to the past, and our predecessors but be relentlessly unapologetic as your surge forward in your grind. Do you and prepare to be amazed at what you make happen. Don't forget to inspire, encourage, and challenge others along the way. Venture beyond your comfort zone, think beyond possible, and give all that you have. Our youth will not last forever but if we do it right, we won't always need it. X


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