Saturday, August 06, 2011

Pondering... 30 in 30 - Day 5

Youth's Challenge

Over coffee with my friend of 20 years, we mused about where we have been and how we live now. Wisdom, foolishness, joy and sorrow have carved prophetic lines in our once smooth faces. Still, we shine with beauty and grace. We cry with sorrow as agony forms the deep places of our souls. We have chosen to live and were we to die today, it would be without regret. There are things we cannot change and things we've yet to do. We still ask questions of ourselves and know that no one can answer our questions for us. We must do it on our own.

Earlier this same morning, a fellow ponderer asked me what I think the greatest challenge is that faces young adults today. My quick response? The fact that they are young. They have the world before them and have not yet gathered the experience of longevity. It is both gift and rival. I believe, the greatest challenge (and one not exclusive to youth) is to find authentic voice and pave paths of our own truth. To live unfettered lives that bring freedom versus imprisonment. To unselfishly and unabashedly stand for who we are. Life's challenge is to sort through the history the elders have bequeathed us - emotionally, spiritually, and economically. To find personal choice while sifting through peer pressure and the voice of the inner critic.

The greatest challenge for me comes from within, and I can't imagine it's so very different for others, be they young, old or in-between. The beauty is that this very same challenge is also our greatest gift. For if it comes from within, then we are free to change through choice. What will I choose for me? What will I offer to others? Life. I choose life over mere existence. Perhaps this is the challenge? This intentional pathway doesn't always taste of sweet honey and love songs. Terror and exhilaration swirl in a strange mixture toward conquering fear. Stepping into light means moving through darkness and befriending fear. It means letting go of what does not work and clinging tightly to what does. Choosing life is taking the risk to be immersed in the fragrance - aromatic & otherwise - of authentic being.

Inspired by Laura S's prompt: What is the biggest challenge facing today's young adults?

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4 comments:

Laura said...

"It is both gift and rival"--so beautifully put. Thanks! I also love the line about sorting through what the elders have bequeathed us... I have been reading a book called "Death Benefits" since my parents died, about that very thing.

Tess Giles Marshall said...

Yes, and I think this authenticity is something that young adults in particular struggle with.
We tend to know the truth about ourselves as children, even if we can't articulate it, and as older adults we begin to approach it again. I think it's the in-between part of life that can be a bit more wobbly in terms of who are really are and what it really means.
Generalisation, obviously.

lucy said...

thanks for stopping by, laura and for offering the prompt. "death benefits" sounds like an interesting read.

lucy said...

hey tess - wise "generalizations" :) thanks for commenting. it always makes me feel like "home" when i see you here! xo