PAYDIRT DOES NOT CONDONE ILLICIT DRUGS, UNDERAGE DRINKING, OR HOMEMADE MARGARITAS WITH EQUAL PARTS TEQUILA (100% AGAVE) AND “SIMPLY LIMEADE” LIMEADE OVER CRUSHED ICE.
My friend woke up to smoke. I was sleeping on my side with my back to him, but when I heard the lighter spark I rolled over, pretending to be asleep. I had to know. I had to confirm that he woke up at two in the morning, and whether he woke up specifically to smoke or was just awake and decided to smoke. I had to know if this guy woke up, rolled a joint, and was getting stoned at two in the morning.
I had to know because I wanted it to be true. I sometimes get wrapped up in the world of Tech. A world of functions and rigid certainties, with syllabi and overviews, journals and research. One filled with words like “hypothetical” and “theory”. It’s a world focused on work and progress. But sometimes I need something less structured, so natural and organic it doesn’t make sense. Something that isn’t work or progress, but just is. Something like waking up to get stoned, then falling back asleep.
Because the world isn’t what it used to be. Our lives are changing in many ways, and not all of it good. Technology, for instance, certainly makes life easier, but it is also changing how we live and grow up. An article in The Economist says that 10th graders in the U.S are drinking less and spending more time on the internet. Studies from the World Health Organization found 15-year-olds from western Europe and Canada are drinking less, copulating less, and finding it easier to talk to their fathers. Family life is changing, with parents spending twice as much time with their children in 2012 than they did in 1965.
Curious changes, and perhaps not as good as they appear. There is clearly an issue with the youth in the world's richest countries.The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports a 24% increase in suicide in the U.S in the past two decades. Fewer teens agree to the statement “I make friends easily at school” in 2015 than in 2003. Youth are becoming better behaved, but they’re also becoming unhappier and more anxious.
The point is, something sinister is happening behind this facade of well-behaved, productive youth. Sure, they don’t drink as much and do fewer drugs, they’re not getting each other pregnant as often, and they even fight less, but they also seem to be less happy. It could be that today’s youth are missing out on some of those mistakes and experiences that other generations learned from. Are we so focused on progress that we are forgetting to fully enjoy and adventure through life?
My friend isn’t in that rat race. In the dim glow of his joint and a street light through the blinds, I could see the contents of the quart sized mason jar by his bed. It had lowered considerably in the past few days. I couldn’t help but think of him as a Henry David Thoreau type character, where laying back and smoking a joint at two in the morning in a world so focused on work and progress is a form of civil disobedience.
If you don’t feel like you take as much advantage of your youth as you possibly can, perhaps this spring break is the time to turn things around. How you interpret “take advantage of your youth” is up to you, but remember that you probably do not have a fully developed frontal cortex yet. Try “taking advantage of your youth” when you’re forty with two kids and a mortgage. It won’t work out well. So do it now.
You could spend spring break catching up on classes or working, but you can also do that during school. Honestly, you probably will anyway. There are things to do during spring break that you cannot do in school. Since you have one whole week free, it makes sense to do during spring break what you cannot do during school. Now is the time to take advantage of your youth.
By the time this article comes out, you’ll have very few days to plan ways to optimally take advantage of your youth, so you better get busy. You have one week. Get after it.