It’s a common phrase. We’ve all heard it, either being said to someone or said to you directly or maybe even in a movie (like me, two days ago).
And I don’t like it. I don’t like the phrase at all.
From the instance we start school we have to determine what we want to be. We are politely interrogated, “What do you want to be when you’re older?” in that sweet, condescending voice that adults regurgitate when talking to children. And then it gets to a point where we are told we only have one chance, we have to do it now and we have to do it well. Maybe with a minor clause in the English education system, but it’s more or less valid.
And those are our youngest years. During this time we have to make life changing decisions: what GCSEs am I going to take, what A Levels to do, what course to study at uni, BTEC or A Level, whether to pursue this sport, apprenticeship, or this extra curricular activity…how am I going to make money and sustain myself in the future? Within the ages of 5 – 18, we have to answer those questions. We have to make those choices and be happy with them.
And if you’re blessed, somewhere along the line, somebody that has done it all or done nothing at all but is inevitably 20 or so years older than you, therefore he must have more wisdom, addresses the “youth” or the “young adults” and tells them they have their whole life ahead of them.
Hello?! Competition is getting tougher by the day! It has got to a point where two masters isn’t even enough to be considered for certain types of jobs. Everybody is becoming entrepreneurs. People are getting smarter and more educated. Babies are using iPads comfortably, straight from the womb. Time’s are changing. Potential employees are getting hired through Twitter. What’s a CV when I have LinkedIn?!
The 21st century has boiled down to this: if not now, then when? If not me, then who? After all, there are 24 year olds walking around with PhDs.
The above phrase tries to tell me this, if you fail, it’s alright you can make it up for yourself later. But imagine trying to study to be a nurse in your forty something somethings, with four children, a husband, mortgage, bills and a car to maintain? But, no! It’s okay…you’ve got your whole life ahead of you…