Are you one of those people who once graduating from university, getting a particular job, reaching a certain age or upon getting married decided to ‘grow up’? What I mean is did you stop doing certain things that gave you a great sense of pleasure just because you were expected to act a certain way now that you are ‘old’? Let this sink in for a moment and be honest with yourself. I for starters am guilty as charged.
So, what is the Cycle of Youth? Isn’t Youth a particular stage in one’s life which potentially ends around the time you are in your late twenties only to move onto the next phase of your life. If so, what is the next phase? After all, time is linear so how can Youth be a cycle? I will explain.
As children we are taught that one day we will grow up to be ‘somebody’, married to a beautiful person, have a wonderful house, kids, a fancy car and if you are lucky, a dog and some cats for good measure. This image is sold to us from day one and defined as the model of a successful person. What we do not realise is that this automatically creates a belief in our subconscious that we lack something. Sounds familiar? Good. What happens next is that most of us spend the next foreseeable years working towards what we define as a ‘successful life’.
Although the specifics may vary for different people what I’ve come to realise is that many of us prioritise this goal over many other fundamental daily activities. Now don’t misunderstand me, I am after all an ambitious person and I believe I am slowly building my empire one cup of tea at a time.
Drive and ambition gives meaning to our lives, it helps us get out of bed in the morning and drive to work everyday. It fuels us with energy, inspires us and draws people closer towards us. This is my ideal model, yet many people I speak to choose jobs they hate, partners they can’t stand, cars they can’t afford and food that is just terrible for their health. Why? My understanding is that somewhere along the way things didn’t go exactly as planned. The reality of things does not quite match up to what it is that they were expecting. This situation opens the floodgates to self-abuse. We binge drink on the weekends, take drugs in dirty toilets, overeat, stay up late on Netflix, work 80 hour weeks and forget to feed the cats. You should never forget to feed the cats!
So, ask yourself ‘how youthful am I’? When was the last time you laughed till you cried, spent time in nature, danced till your legs hurt or slept under the stars? To some of these I can’t even remember the last time it happened! Being youthful is not about having perfect skin or a head full of hair. It is a state of mind. It is a conscious decision. A way of life. It actually takes time and discipline to master Youth. We are all young once, but if we listen, observe and trust that nagging voice inside of our hearts we can live to experience an infinite amount of youthful years.
If the vision of your success comes at the expense of your physical and mental health then you are in for a nasty surprise. Hit the brakes on the hours you work if they start eating into the time you spend with your family, cook a decent meal or your sleep. These are major red flags. Take time out and respect the greatest tool you will ever own. Quit smoking weed, drinking excessively and binging on your phone. Notice that these actions are all aimed at distracting you from your present reality. Become present. Look at people in their eyes when speaking to them, speak your mind and (pretend to) be fearless. It takes practice but as you slowly take charge of little areas in your life your confidence grows and empowers you to take further steps towards personal freedom and growth.
Don’t get caught up in the story you have allowed yourself to believe. Driving that luxury SUV might be quite amazing but ultimately it will not make you happy. Looking at a person in their eyes and expressing your undying love for them will. Hold their hand whilst on a nature walk, sleep under the stars and buy foldable chairs you can take around with you. Sit back and admire the view together. How’s that for success?
Will is the founder of Men’s Morning Circle, a sunrise yoga and meditation session just for men. His dream is to raise awareness on the benefits of such practices in dealing with personal and professional stress as well as empowering men to be the greatest version of themselves. An Open Circle starts Thursday 28th June and runs every last week of the month which is open to both men and women. Will has also written a number of articles on personal growth and development and hopes to keep inspiring people through his work.
Cover Image by Fabrice Bonello Du Puis of Deep Med Free Diving.