I was talking to this young man one day, and I asked him, “How are you doing?”
He later answered, hesitating, “I’m doing fine.”
I asked, “What is it? Is there something wrong?”
He said, “Well, no, not really.”
Then I proceeded to ask more questions. He finally told me that sometimes he gets stressed out.
“What could you possibly be stressed out about?” I asked him.
“Just being 20 years old,” he said.
I was somewhat surprised by his answer, and I told him that he should be enjoying his young adulthood. Furthermore, this should be one of the happiest times in his life.
I began thinking about growing up in the ’80s and embracing my high school years. I remember feeling empowered when I was his age because I was old enough to vote, work and make my own money. I thought, what could he be stressed out about? In fact, many young adults stay at home with their parents much longer to save money and do other things, which should make things a little easier. Meanwhile, the young man did not let up on his statement of feeling stressed as a young 20-year-old.
I thought about how things have changed from the time when my parents were growing up. This was a time when the whole community would help to raise a child. Even though it has only been about two decades since the ’80s when I was growing up, things have surely changed since then also. Television commercials have bombarded us with ads that showcase sexual innuendo, war, bloodshed, and mounting information on inflation, and that’s not the core of it all.
However, I invited the young man to think about other young men and women growing up in the ’60s, surrounded, but not influenced by, acts of racism and hatred. I expressed to him that if those young men and women could eat, learn and ride with people who did not want them around and despite all that stress those young men and women still held their heads up high, then he can too, growing up in the 21st century.
I challenge young adults to set goals for the New Year. This will assist in neutralizing some of life’s stressors by focusing on something you desire to accomplish. Acknowledge all those who made it through stressful times, and in doing so, hold on tight to hope.
There’s no better time than now.