How Not To Waste Your Life:  Making The Most of Youth To Avoid Regrets In Old Age9 min read

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Challenging times are coming. And, I’m not speaking of the economic state of the nation or the looming wars we keep hearing about on TV and Social media.

I’m talking about the challenges and limitations that come with old age.

This perspective seldom gets any attention, yet you must be aware, at least, if you want to avoid regrets in old age.

If you’re under 40, you’re in a phase of vibrancy — your heart, health, and beauty are intact, and your strength is at its peak. It is the best time to take up life’s demanding pursuits, from achieving goals to adventurous endeavours.

It is the time to eat and drink whatever you want (responsibly) – because your metabolism is optimal and you have no underlying health condition.

It is the time to make friends, fall in love and have sex because you are still full of energy and can risk getting your heart broken a few times.

It is the time to travel and take risks – surf, skydive, mountain climb, etcetera. 

Why?

The day will come when responsibilities and health become significant impediments.

In old age, bones ache, organs weaken, teeth fall off, eyes dim, ears dull, immunity weakens, and sexual drive depletes (if not vanish completely) — you’re overall besieged by salinity.

Even the Bible encourage believers to seek God in their youth when the *evil days* have not come (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8)

You basically won’t have your youth back – pretty much how you can’t get back your childhood. 

If you’ve ever felt nostalgic about childhood, then you must be very intentional in your youth. This is because when many old people who have wasted their lives look back, they look back in regret.

Don’t let that be you.

Live your best life immediately. Invest in relationships, knowledge and experiences. So that in old age you’ll look back and smile while reaping the fruits of your youthful labour – from personal to career success – and focusing on the other important and good things that come with old age. 

Why Does It Matter To Make Your Youth Count?

You must make your life count because, in the end, you will have no one else to blame other than yourself – if you fail to make the most of your youth, you may be riddled, saddled, and addled with regret at old age.

Youth is a precious gift, a time of abundant energy and boundless dreams. Yet, it’s easy to fall into the trap of complacency, letting life drift by in a blur of routine and missed opportunities, or the temptation of recklessness, taking for granted and destroying that which should have been cherished and carefully invested. 

A wise person will treat their youth like a farmer treats a farmland. They won’t leave it without planting – even if there is no assurance of harvest. They will not give up without trying. They won’t let their potential to be untapped, then blame the gods.

They will intentionally sow good seeds till the entire land is covered, and will continuously water the seeds. They will not do things that may haunt them in time to come, and will continuously strive to make sure their dreams fly.

After sowing, they will continuously come to weed the farmland. They may even apply fertilizers, herbicides, and rodenticides, and set up a fence to keep thieves away from the perimeter. They will have principles, develop good habits, curate their friends, set boundaries, and enforce those boundaries.  

They will not fold their arms and beg for food when they have a farrowing farmland. They will not let their lives waste when they have the exuberance and opportunities that come with youthfulness. 

They will sow good seeds in hopes of a bountiful harvest. They will do their best and hope for a bright and colourful future. 

How To Make The Most of Your Life.

Perhaps I have been a bit too poetic, and you on the other hand need a concrete guide to make the most of your life. In that case, there are tiny, mundane, yet important things you can consistently do to make the most of your life. They are as follows:

Embrace Curiosity:

Knowledge will open your eyes to opportunities and dangers that are plentiful in your life. To leverage opportunities and avoid mistakes embracing curiosity is crucial. 

Never stop learning. Read, take courses, engage in stimulating conversations, and challenge your assumptions. Keep your mind sharp and open to new ideas.

But remember, no one can teach you everything. And, whatever you are taught is only a fragment of what the teacher knows. So, don’t give up your natural sense of curiosity.

Don’t let the difficulty of learning, or the fear of the unknown hold you back. 

Be willing to question ideas and unlearn the unhelpful ones. Learn to find compromise and how to improve one existing idea. Don’t ever stop refining what you know and how you think about things – because it is from your mind that all your actions emanate from.

Find Your Purpose:

Develop self-awareness, and pay attention to what sets your soul on fire! Whether it’s art, music, writing, or anything else, lean towards it as much as you can. Pursue these interests wholeheartedly, even if they seem impractical. 

If you fail to find and explore your passions, life may seem empty and bland.

It is okay to work jobs, and do other things you don’t like, but don’t entirely sacrifice what makes your soul sing. 

And, if you are lucky, you could even discover your Ikigai – the thing you love doing and that the world is willing to pay you for.

Living with purpose leads to a life of authenticity and fulfilment.

Nothing feels better than making a difference in the lives of others on your own terms.

Challenge Yourself:

Don’t settle for mediocrity. Dream big and set goals that push you outside your comfort zone.

Go all out!

Write that book, start that business, host that event, travel to that place, talk to that person you admire, etcetera.

Make a list of the things you wish to achieve. Make a plan to achieve them. Recruit help. Sacrifice what you can to make it work. 

Do it. Do it. Go all the way. All the way!

Seek and Create Experiences.

Youth is a canvas waiting to be filled with vibrant colours, unforgettable textures, and bold strokes. Don’t let it remain blank! Actively seek and create experiences that will add richness, depth, and joy to your journey.

Don’t hope for a better time. This is the best time!

You can eat, drink, and be merry, without breaking the bank.

You can visit exotic places, experience cultures, and witness amazing performances.

You can find and make love.

You can experiment and try new things.

You can do the things you’re scared of doing!

You can live life to the fullest without being reckless. 

Plan For The Future:

Youth is fleeting – blink and you could miss it. 

Rather than living aimlessly or just for the weekends, develop a strategic approach that will cushion you when you don’t have the same amount of energy and opportunities. 

Prioritize, plan, and don’t confuse self-love with selfishness

  • Think about your money: Save, invest, and spend wisely. 
  • Think about your health: Eat and drink responsibly. Work out and stay away from harm.
  • Think about your integrity: Live authentically and stay true to your values in every situation, even when faced with challenges or temptation.

Don’t ever let yourself fall into reckless behaviours, and avoid actions that could compromise your future.

It is best to do things that compound – things that can add up to something larger like a snowball rolling down a hill. A shrewd investment can compound to give you financial freedom. Regular exercise can give you a fit and healthy body. And a good reputation is a foundation that will weather any storm and even present you with unexpected opportunities.

Nurture Healthy Relationships:

Good relationships don’t just fall from the sky. They are built intentionally with effort.

Build strong, meaningful relationships with family and friends. Be present, offer support, and cherish the moments you share. These bonds will be your anchor in life’s storms and a source of endless joy.

Learn to forgive others and let go of grudges and past hurts.

Learn to forgive yourself, and let others forgive you too. 

Where genuine effort and complete forgiveness are abundant, their love and genuine connection abound.

And, in the end, these genuine connections matter the most – they are the ones you will share your stories and success with; even from now till when you are old.

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Conclusion: Don’t Waste Your Time Desiring Something Better, Be Grateful All The way!

It’s natural to be drawn to the glitz and glamour we see online or around us, but remember, true happiness comes from deeper connections and experiences. Don’t let the shiny decorations on someone else’s plate distract you from enjoying the yummy cake you already have.

While some ultra-wealthy individuals choose to display their affluence through material possessions, it’s important to remember that external things don’t always equate to greater happiness.

Focus on cultivating gratitude for what you have, and you’ll be surprised at how much richer your life feels. Start by taking a moment each day to appreciate something you’re thankful for, big or small. Remember, happiness isn’t about reaching for something beyond your grasp, it’s about savouring the wonderful piece of cake you already have, even if it is on a rubber plate.

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