Why does everybody seem to be in a rush to grow up? I know there are many factors affecting people’s decisions. But it often seems to me that youngsters are in too much of a rush to adulthood. At 21 I was a young single lad, enjoying life and planning the career I later started at 23 and still do. I lived at home, played sport, socialised with friends a lot and enjoyed the freedom of youth. I’m now married with children and am happier than I’ve ever been.
The point being that either I planned it well or I was lucky that it fell into place so well for me. I had a great young life and gradually morphed into the adult I am today.
Yet when you look at youngsters these days there seems to be a whole bunch in far too much of a rush to abandon youth for the trappings of this adult life.
I joined the cops when I was 23. I did my basic training and then got out on the streets to do the job to my best ability. Like any other job you make mistakes and learn as you go. I was 23, single, relatively mature but not blessed with the wisdom that only time and life can give you. Yet there I was 6 months in dealing with domestic situations with 30, 40 and 50 year old couples offering marriage guidance and common sense when I had no real experience in that area to draw upon. I was given powers and authority but flew by the seat of my pants rather than a position of solid life experience.
Last night toward the end of the shift I booked in a young 21 year old girl. Slightly intoxicated, hair all over the place, make up streamed all down her face, bruised, bashed and generally in a mess. She had been involved in a dispute with her boyfriend. She was no stranger to custody though I’d never met her before. She had a previous photo on the system. This was the heart rending bit. A very pretty, fresh faced youngster looked back at me. The complete opposite of what was stood in front of me and only 2 intervening years. As I booked her in she told me of her life and her problems. How her boyfriend beat her up. How she was worried about her child who was at home and only 4 months old. She didn’t work, lived in a tiny flat and got by on benefits.
What a complete opposite to where I was at 21! I know that for every case like this there can be several others that are total successes. But if there is one case like this then it is wrong surely? We all make our own decisions and must take responsibility for them. But what made this girl go down this track? She was very much still a kid. Yet she was bearing the responsibilities of being a mother, financial difficulties, no possible immediate future and subject to a violent and unloving relationship.
I don’t know if it is society, the media, peer pressure or simply learnt behaviour from our parents. But it makes me sad to see young people with potential and a life in front of them to do what they want to simply abandon it all for the oft perceived romance, happiness, bliss? that is this adult life.
If life is a swimming pool. We all have to get in at the shallow end and slowly make our way to the deep water. Running down the side and jumping in at the deep end may be exciting but you’re soon out of your depth.
I wish her well and pray her life finds some direction, focus and peace.