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The ‘wisdom’ of youth

/ 12:18 AM October 23, 2015

It has been a few years of steadily dipping into my twenties. And already there is that knowing feeling inside me that says with all certainty that I have made the giant leap from my flippant childhood days and through my angst-ridden teenage years. The seeming sensibility of the games we used to pretend were real is now gone. And the hormones have finally relaxed, freed from their frenzy. Yes, I am an adult—one bred by blurred boundaries and global unrest.

In growing toward our adulthood we have traded our imaginary friends and puppy loves for what we now deem practical and real. The fortresses of our pretend castles are now replaced by the thin dividers of our office cubicles. And this huge group of a social circle we call our barkada—our gang—has had to make way for those impossible course units we hurdle to earn our college degrees.

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It all seems like our world is changing. And yet we are unaware of how we are changing the world.

In its research, the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School concluded that millennials are highly ambitious and not entirely motivated by money at work but by personal and career growth. Our choice of a job involves one that allows us to pursue after-work pursuits, whether they be abs-crunching at the gym and lending a philanthropic hand in a local needy community. Human resources personnel must always be on their toes, keeping tabs on how to apprehend and demystify our vast and diverse backgrounds capitalized with big personalities and even bigger dreams.

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For the 2016 national elections, our generation will comprise a significant part of the voting population. If a presidential candidate wants to do it right, in my opinion he or she

better win the hearts of the Filipino millennials. No task can be more formidable than trying to deal with an age group that has witnessed a president getting impeached and politicians getting rich on public funds. The huge value we place on authenticity is the criterion a presidential candidate has to meet in spite of a political landscape that coerces us with lies. Our voting power has come to its maturity, and the millennial voting bloc must be fought for.

Truly we have come of age. Those older than us look upon us with the expectations of wisdom. And those younger than us must think we are full of it.

But nothing can be farther than the truth.

Our cubicle walls may have become our realities. We may no longer imagine castles, but we imagine our homes, whether they are an ocean or just a short distance away, or whether they are a structural concept of a home, a person, or a feeling. Homesickness has become a plague of the young. And sometimes all we

ever need to face that very cubicle again the next day is to be able to come home—maybe not to our hometowns, or to our loved ones, but at least to ourselves.

Our barkada may have to give way. But that is only because growing up also means breaking up with some friends. Somewhere down the road of our personal progress our interests change and our priorities get shuffled. In the course of our lives we break up with many people in various kinds of relationships. But it is always friendship that is the most difficult to break, and often the most painful.

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We may be ambitious and driven. But that is because we know well enough that no amount of money can compensate for a job we dislike. To pursue the security of one job over that which we are passionate about feels like plunging a knife through our heart. And to go to work dragging our feet on a daily basis is slow suicide.

It is surprising how work can drain us exhaustively to think it will take up, at most, five decades of our lives. It is too long a time to stay in something that makes us unhappy. Too long a time for us to be indecisive about what we want.

Our votes are important. And that is because trust is a commodity we don’t trade very easily, and because by giving our trust we also give a portion of our entire being. But there have been many instances when people misused that trust, making us feel a little less whole, with pieces of ourselves broken or missing.

Perhaps it is true that wisdom and youth are two words that do not quite pair well. As George Bernard Shaw once pronounced, “Youth is wasted on the young.” But perhaps, too, the wisdom of youth is in our confusion. Maybe it’s in our imaginings and our daydreams, in our strongest and weakest relationships, in our hopes for our better selves, or in our trust for a better country.

Maybe our wisdom is not in knowing but in not knowing. We are still a work in progress, learning along the way. Nobody told us that growing up meant falling apart. But we learn to pick up the pieces. And for that we can indeed be very wise.

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TAGS: ‘millennials’, Elections 2016, Wisdom, youth
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