February 20, 2008
By Julia Hu, San Diego, CA

A five year old has it plastered on her forehead. A fifteen year old keeps it in his back pocket and only pulls it out when it’s convenient. A twenty-five year old tries to hold on to it. A forty year old once had it and now wants it back. This is youth. It’s the meaning of young, hip, hot, sexy, carefree, and energy to adults. It’s the meaning of stress, pressure, no freedom, unfairness, school, and popularity to children. It’s something people had and now desire. It’s something people have and take for granted.
Youth is free of wrinkles, cellulite, and age spots. Youth is fitting into those hip hugging bell-bottom jeans from the seventies. Youth is showing off those in-style dance moves that aren’t so “in” nowadays. Youth is going to the movies with friends and not worrying about responsibilities. Youth is tree climbing and lemonade stands in the shade of your front yard. Youth is dancing in the rain carelessly and building snowmen in the winter snow. Youth is playing tag with the neighbors, but never touching the opposite sex because of those horrific cooties. Youth is not worrying about back problems, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels. Youth is not paying taxes, water, electricity, and HOA fees. Youth is not working eight-hour shifts but receiving a weekly allowance. Through the mind of an adult, youth is experiencing the best years of life.
But for all that, youth has its limitations and consequences. There are curfews that cannot be broken, homework that must be done, and rules that must be followed. Youth includes the most awkward stages of life: puberty, acne, and vocal changes. During youth, academic goals must be met in order to secure your future otherwise your whole life is apparently over. The only way to meet these goals are by pulling all-nighters, attempting to earn every “A+” you can get. Youth involves stressing about colleges and whether the big or small envelope from the university is stuffed into your mailbox. Youth is about pressure whether it is from parents, peers or teachers. Youth revolves around unnecessary drama, gossip, rumors, and fights that turn out to be pathetic and childish when you look back in a year or two. Youth is saying things you will later regret to your parents and getting grounded for them. Youth is unfair rules and no freedom. Youth is something all adolescents have, but through their minds, they believe there is no better feeling than growing up and finally becoming an adult.
Is there a specific age in which a person is considered a "youth”? Youth is defined as people falling between the ages of 15 and 24 years in the United States. Its definition varies among the different countries and societies that exist today. Youth is depicted sometimes as a particular age group, as a stage of life or as an attitude. Youth is a time of life that is neither childhood nor adulthood, but it is rather a place in between. Some might perceive it as something they desperately yearn for while others attempt to push it away. In life, you don’t recognize the significant moments while they still exist. You grow complacent with ideas, or things or people and take them for granted. It's usually not until that thing is about to be taken away from you that you've realized how wrong
you've been, that you realized how much you need it, how much you want it, and how much you love it.

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