Youth Lost? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I'm scared for our generation. I am. We're too anxious to grow up: to take on responsibilities and worries about money and college and the future; to walk the straight and narrow and complete each day's mundane tasks unquestioningly; too caught up in the hustle and bustle to even bother asking why.

Come on, we're young. We've got our whole lives ahead of us. The rest of our days to grow up, and assume responsibility. But right now we're young. We didn't screw up this world. They did. We didn't cause all the problems. Those were their doing. We were just dropped here. No explanations. No instructions. But these are our years. Our years to question. And resist. To rebel against all the rules and restrictions we had no say in creating, but are nonetheless expected to follow unquestioningly.

We don't owe anyone anything. This is our time to be selfish. To live completely and utterly for ourselves. To ditch school and throw wild parties. To stay up all night and sleep all day. To celebrate our youth and the bright freshness of the world that is ours to shape.

So why do I spend my nights slaving over chemistry homework and studying Spanish? Why am I part of a lost generation, still nostalgic for a decade that ended over twenty years ago, before any of us were even born? Why do I have this awful fear that we will all be old before we are young?

I feel like I should give you all my phone number and address. We could get together and throw one big blowout. Turn up the music and, well, you know the rest, I doubt if this newspaper would print it. Just once we could all taste that wonderful image of youth so constantly thrust in our faces.

Be carefree, wild, reckless, rebellious, careless, and uncivilized. Just take a weekend and run wild.

'Cause youth's a pretty short time when you think about it. You have four years of high school, where you're basically too young to do anything other than show up for your classes and go home. Especially if you live in one of these hick little suburbs like I do. Then you have college. Better, they say. A quick four more years and poof...gone. Youth over.

So let's throw that party. Because in twenty-five years I'm going to be forty. Probably married with some normal-formal job and a couple of kids. My hair graying and the lines setting deeper and deeper into my face with each day that passes. Gone forever will be the days of youth, where anything was possible and nothing was out of reach. Gone forever the nights of spring fever, when the air carried a charge meant only for the young. Gone forever the feeling that anything could be right around the corner and I really could live forever. All gone. And all I'll have left are the memories. And I don't want my only memory of youth to be of sitting at a wooden desk, swigging black coffee, and balancing chemical equations into the night.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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