It’s not rare that I get an odd look when I speak in front a crowd of business owners. With the majority of them being double my age, I’ve quickly learned the importance of gaining their trust as a marketer and their respect as a professional. Sure I could easily “fake it” with a beard and moustache, that type of transformation would take months of preparation for me and I really don’t see the point. While I have been in many situations where my age has overshadowed my skills, I still embrace it. I mean, why not? A fellow blogger once said, Age only matters if you let it. And I couldn’t agree more.
For many young professionals it’s becoming ever-so difficult to differentiate the “professional” from the “young”. Establishing an identity in the business world is quite complicating as there are still several things you want to do as a young person and many things you want to do as a professional. The only problem is, some of these activities and opportunities don’t exactly fit both sides of the story. It’s become common for many of us make the decision that were at a point in our lives where we no longer need our old friends. Instead we seek out new friends who can present us with “exciting” and more polished opportunities. While its always great to enhance your network – turning your back on your entourage could be a decision you regret forever. As young professionals we need to embrace our youth and realize that many would kill to have theirs back.
I recently caught myself thinking about how great it was to wake up excited on Christmas day and find an N64 game under the tree. I went on to tell myself that “those were the good old days” when in fact, I’m still living, “the good old days.” We all are. The question is whether or not were going to make them as good as we can or let our days be mediocre.
Just the other day I met a lady who was in her late sixties and her daily routine would push the endurance of Usain Bolt to the limit. Her schedule included biking from one end of the city to the next, walking four neighbourhood dogs, monitoring recess at a local elementary school and then biking back home to play with her two grandkids when they got off school. It reminded me of a quote;
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
Somewhere along the road to success many of us young professionals forget to take time and play. In a sense, many of us take the easy way out by abandoning our youth. Instead of seeking balance between being young and being a professional, we choose one or the other. When in fact, we could easily decide that we want to balance the best of both worlds.
You see, many of us have forgotten the importance of a true belly-laugh and the adrenaline before a night on the town. We forget these feelings all because were afraid to be judged unfairly. Were afraid that our older colleagues will judge us for being “young.” Our drive puts us in a position where we forget what it felt like to be excited about something other than work. We ignore opportunities that would lead to great memories for opportunities to further our careers. We put our heart and soul into our work while forgetting to give our heart to someone else. And while doing this, we not only forget who we are but we forget what it means to be young.
These are some of the best days of our lives. When we look back at our own personal stories and remember our youth, will we remember a time when we were overworked and underpaid or a time when we embraced the little things and lived everyday as if it was our last. I leave you with a video about youth, along with a quote from Jay-Z…
Fear not when, fear not why,
Fear not much while were alive,
Life is for living not living up tight,
See ya somewhere up in the sky,
– Young Forever, Jay-Z