Something from a Senior: The Moment After

mistakesI’ve written a lot about the decisions, we as young people, make. We view ourselves as young and free, living life with “no regrets.” There are even pop songs to prove it. Summer is our season and nighttime our turf. Life seems easy to most young people. We are restless and alive, ready to take on the world.

There are 75 million of us: Millennials, Generation Y and one thing is for sure…statistics do not favor us. Close to 2800 teens become pregnant each day. One in four sexually active teens become infected with an STD each year. Homicide is the second leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 24. More than 40 percent of teens who admitted to drinking or smoking marijuana said they do it when they are upset; 31 percent said they drink alone; and 25 percent claim to drink when they are bored. And teens make up more than half of drug possession arrests. The truth is that while all seems to be fun and games, many have experienced the repercussions that follow our acts of fun and careless freedom.

Think back to a time when you got in trouble. In whatever wrongful act you were committing, somebody found out or you got caught. Many times after doing something that can be considered either dangerous, illegal, or just plain morally wrong, young people feel no guilt until caught…at least not right away. Sure, our guilt catches up to us eventually but the fact of the matter is that our carelessness disrupts any sense of remorse.

Now, let’s think about …the moment after. The five minutes after you’ve been caught, arrested, scolded, or reprimanded, several thoughts race into your mind. Some get anxious. Some become quiet. Some may even cry. It is as if everything becomes blurred and cleared at the same time. An intellectualness overcomes your mind and you do something amazing. You realize. In those five minutes of realization, you become aware of what you’ve done and the mistakes behind it. Your heart drops and your breathing becomes quick and shallow. The moment after is vital to how you will deal with your mistakes in the future because you see if you take advantage of the moment after, if you grasp how wrong you were, if you accept and humble yourself before your wrongs. Maybe, just maybe, you can rise up as a better person after your fall.

It is difficult to accept that, as a generation, we are ruthless in our decisions. We make mistakes, more than those who are younger and older than us, but we have a common ability in our minds. We have resilience. Young people can get back up and stand with a heightened sense of right and wrong. Be aware your decisions and understand your reason behind them. Being young is not an excuse to act without thinking. Embrace the moment after.

By Anna Flores