wheel postAs I posted yesterday about the young man who instructed wisdom beyond his years, I also spent some time thinking about the fire of youth. I wondered if this young man’s youth helped him to be so staunch about making up his own mind versus going along with the crowd.

Youth has its advantages. For many, not for all, but for many, being young means they haven’t spent years trying to get noticed by their boss, followed by years of trying to fly straight and keep their heads down. They haven’t spent time arduously working their way up as doors slam in their faces. They don’t have a family and a mortgage riding on their decisions. They haven’t had to choose between what they really want and what’s good for the household. They haven’t had to live long term with the stress of going against the grain. Time and aching joints have not worn them down in life. And sometimes, they’ve even spent the last few years figuring out that pleasing their parents and teachers to their own detriment is a concept to be thrown out the window.

These things, yes, may have helped this young man to stick to his guns. Yet youth did not help him reach his conclusion that “you should make up your own mind, regardless of what anyone says.”

No, as much as going rogue is a youthful concept, making an unpopular choice and sticking to it is not.

You can spend your whole life, eking out a living and taking on what others give you. You can sit up straight, work hard, and speak only when spoken to. You can keep your eyes open and an ear to the ground. But it’s not enough. The vitality of beating the beaten path and the fiery will to try have to play their part. Those are the advantages of youth that so many of us allow life to strip away. But they’re also the wheels that are turning in the recesses of the heart and mind. And they’re worth dusting off.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. Her current writing projects, including her daily blog endeavor, #Project365, can be found at JodyBrown.com/writing