Who stole my youth from me?
A letter from me to Nobody
Some time ago, someone asked if anyone had ever stolen from me. Just when I was about to say no, I remembered the time in secondary school when the snacks I had been saving for rainy days got missing; and the other time I was a bit careless, and my weekly allowance got stolen from my wallet in the library; and another time when my wallet got missing, never to be seen again. All of a sudden, my calm demeanor vanished, and I became livid because as little as the Noreos biscuit from secondary school was, it meant so much to me.
I believe strongly that if a lot of people are asked this same question, they’d be like me and probably remember when the things they loved were taken from them, or in even some rare cases, they might believe that nothing has been stolen from them. (Lucky individuals, might I add).
But then there’s much more to that question than most people realize. A lot of us have had our peace stolen, our time stolen, our joy stolen, and our hearts stolen (and I don’t mean the cliché romantic statement “She/he stole my heart”). Even little things like jokes and interesting topics of conversation have been stolen from some of us. And trust me, that’s one of the most painful things ever. Watching someone stealing your shine, using one of your epic one-liners or your signature joke, and getting a nice reaction from others, which technically should be yours.
Anyway, I believe that at some point in our lives, some things have been stolen from us, but we don’t necessarily consider their exit from our lives as a process of theft. Yet these things are often worth so much more than most of the things we acknowledge have been stolen from us.
I was in church for a vigil, and while we were waiting for it to start, I suddenly realized it was 20 days left to my 20th birthday; thinking about it still shocks me to date, I can’t believe I’m actually 20 years old.
That night, I did an evaluation of some of the years that had passed, and I realized how much had been stolen from me. I guess you can say the pressure of doing amazing things at this phase and age is more than common, thanks to social media. “See my mate doing this and that, and I’m here just doing *something that’s definitely not this and that.”
You’ve probably said that statement to yourself a million times or the ever so common, “God, when?”
I don’t know about you, but I feel pressure from both outside and inside, and even though some people apparently thrive on this pressure, there’s only so much one can handle.
I’ve seen food explode from a pressure pot because the knob probably got loose. It was not a pretty scene, trust me (not like I’m comparing anyone to a pot or something, but you get the point).
When I was much younger, I saw 20 as a really big age, and I mean, it is, though, to me, and I was so convinced that when I turned 20, I’d have my own house, be driving my own car and maybe even contributing to paying my sister’s fees. I used to mock my brother back then when he turned 20 because he wasn’t paying my fees yet (I’m sorry, bro, and I genuinely mean it). Yet, here I am, living with my parents, collecting transport money almost every time, completely unable to drive because I’m so terrified of the road, and even sometimes borrowing my sister’s snacks.
Honestly speaking, I have compared myself to almost every living being I have ever seen. Sometimes I wish I could be as tall as, or as slim as, or as pretty as, or as smart as, or as confident as, or even in some cases, I’m happy I’m not as this or as that, and though some of these comparisons make me feel better in the short term, it definitely doesn’t help me long term.
Something I realized that night was that I’m too young to have my joy and peace stolen from me. Sometimes we have no idea how much time we spend worrying, comparing, sulking, and seeking validation, but still not achieving anything, so yes, I’m too young, or maybe too old, to have my time stolen from me.
I have decided not to let the pressure of this world pull me down. Will I embrace mediocrity? NO! But will I let someone’s standard of success define me, NEVER!
Whatever it is that makes me lose my smile, whatever makes me lose my mind, be it a person, in fact, especially a person, I will run away.
As my lecturer used to say, “Talk is cheap”. It may not be easy, I know, but I want to make the most of my approximately 80+ years left on earth.
It is what I must do.
So help me, God.
I advise you to do the same too. Run away from what steals your peace, your convictions, your joy, your time, your money too (very important!), and your smile; trust me, just that one action makes the world a better place in its own little way.
Hold on tight to these things because they mean so much more than you think.
Silly me, I forgot this was addressed to nobody.