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It’s OK To Be Young and Stupid

Youth is wasted on the young.

Do you remember how annoying that saying was?

I do.

It was a hot minute ago when I was young and stupid and didn’t have the patience to take in that wisdom.

Now, here I am nodding my head in total agreement.

I think of the things I took for granted and I wonder if my younger self would read this post and just shrug it off as another middle aged person whining about being middle aged.

Here are a few of those things and my completely unsolicited advice to our youth.

Digestion was easy

I prided myself on having a lead stomach. I was the girl who could inhale the hottest of the hot buffalo wings out there. In fact, we used to make a game of it to see who could out-eat them with me. I won every time. It wasn’t even a challenge.

Today? No more hottest of the hot. Now I have the distinct pleasure of ordering everything mild. No more hotter than hot Kung Pao Chicken or crazy spicy tacos. While the flavors still make me swoon, the stomach doesn’t quite take it so well.

ADVICE: Eat the spiciest things you can muster. One day you won’t be able to muster.

Exercise and Stay Active

When I was in my twenties I was very active. I was always skating, swimming, skiing, dancing, and constantly in movement. Then I got married, became a mom and barely moved if it wasn’t about my family or work. I gained a ton of weight and felt physically miserable.

I started running in my late thirties and it was the best thing I could do for my body and my health. I have to work really hard to stay fit because I neglected my fitness for many years.

One thing that has really impacted the way I look at fitness is traveling. I have met many retirees while traveling cross country in my RV and have had countless conversations with them. The people who are thriving and enjoying their retirements with a high quality of life are usually the ones who were active when younger and stay very active in their golden years.

Folks who struggle with their health in their 50s, 60s and onward are the ones who abused smoking, alcohol and food for many years. They also tend to be the ones who weren’t and aren’t active.

It’s been an eye opener for me.

ADVICE: Get moving! You get one body and it requires life long activity and strength training.

Wear Sunscreen

If I had a dollar for every person I know in the 40+ age range who has had a run-in with skin cancer, I’d be a hundred-aire.  No, that is not a real word.

I am guilty of having baked like a turkey for hours in the unforgiving Florida sun. I practically lived at the beach on the weekends. I’m in the clear now and I’m hoping my ethnicity pulls me some luck in the skin department. Ever since my 30’s I’ve been slathering on the sunscreen daily. Especially when I go on my runs.

ADVICE: Sunscreen EVERY day. It’s just not worth the cancer scare.

Sleep is Overrated

I remember a work colleague named Joan who was in her sixties when I was twenty. She used to always tell me I was burning the candle at both ends.

She was right.

I worked full-time in an office, went to school full-time and sang in a band four times per week. I also carved out time to go dancing and be twenty.  If I got five hours of sleep I was thrilled.

Now I need at least seven hours, which means Mami gets to bed very early to be able to pull off her 5:00 AM risings.

ADVICE:  Keep burning that candle while you can. Sleep is overrated and you’ll eventually get to the point where you can’t deprive yourself anymore.  Just remember to take it easy when you are feeling run down. Sometimes you need to just recharge the batteries.

It’s OK To Be Judgmental

Hold on before you judge me on this.

See what I did there?

I was raised by parents who were very judgmental about drugs. It’s just the way things are in Hispanic culture, especially their generation. They basically called anyone who did drugs “trash”.

While I know as an adult that many people actually struggle with addiction and they aren’t “trash”, it was a great deterrent. I certainly didn’t want to be considered a trashy person, so I always declined when the drugs were offered.

It’s a tough one, because as a parent I’ll say anything to keep my kids away from things I know will harm them and their chances for a good future.  I do talk a lot about how people who abuse drugs end up ruining their lives and how partaking is basically playing Russian roulette. You never know if you are going to be an addict.

And frankly, I don’t want my kids hanging out with friends who are using drugs or doing things I don’t want them exposed to.

ADVICE: If using judgement helps you keep your kids safe, then by all means, do it.

Be Young and Stupid

While I get the sentiment of that statement about wisdom being wasted on the young, I don’t really agree with it.

You see, the beauty of youth is in the ignorance of it all. When you are young you are not aware of how amazing it is. So you live with abandon and make your mistakes and that’s OK.

There will be more than enough time for reflection when you are older and the wisdom starts to set in.

So go forth and be young and stupid and free.

But make sure you wear your sunscreen, exercise and stay away from drugs.

That is all.

Pipe In

I’d love to know what you would tell your younger self to keep doing or not do.

36 Responses

  1. I second you on the sunscreen. I’m very fair skinned and burn easy. The damage that sun worshiping can do to me is very high. I also agree a lot with the exercise!

  2. You just made young and stupid, sound so normal lol. I remember being young and stupid. I agree with your tips. It’s how we learn, as when you know better, you do better. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Oh I was once young and stupid too. If I could talk with my younger self, I would have told her to enjoy life, and travel everywhere before she started a family. No regrets though. I love my kids even if they drive me to my wits end.

  4. Haha, I love this post! These are things that I’ve took for granted too! I really love doing the sunscreen tip now too; after all, it also helps shield the skin from further aging. Love this post!

  5. This is a great post! There are some things I did when I was younger that I absolutely regret and others that I definitely don’t. You’ve hit the nail on the head with pretty much everything. Well written! 🙂

  6. I totally agree with everything you’ve said here. One thing I would tell my younger self is to not worry about what other people think. Be yourself!

  7. I love this post because I can really relate. I was pretty wild and reckless when I was younger and I definitely miss those days. But now that I’m in my 40s and a mom of a young boy, I’m definitely more tired than ever before. I also feel that youth is wasted on the young. LOL!

  8. I can relate to a lot of these. But this one, “ADVICE: Eat the spiciest things you can muster. One day you won’t be able to muster.” oh boy how this is true. I remember nothing was ever too spicy, now I have to take an anti-acid pill lol.

  9. I lived in the sun when younger and my skin shows the results of that. I believe in sunscreen and apply it every single day. I really need to work in more exercise and avoid hot and spicy.

  10. OMG I needed to read this today so much! I ticked all the points on your list and that makes me feel happy! I was young and stupid and it was perfect!

  11. i enjoyed reading this article as I can relate to it! thank god that ive been doing the first two as coming from thailand, we naturally have spicy food and ive always love to cycle and i still do it now! and yes being young and stupid is just part of coming into adulthood!

  12. Its okay to be young and stupid, and learn the lessons as we grow old. But dont made it a reason just to escape the consequences.
    Being a responsible young adult is a wise idea.

  13. Great advice and really fun post. I especially like the tip on sleep – that’s so true! I can’t handle missing sleep at all now. Enjoy it while you can 🙂

  14. A lot of this rings true to me. And yet, we are still young and we have so much time ahead to make things better. Good advice on the sunscreen (I think). I used to be out in the sun all day when I was younger too, now, sunblock all the time.

  15. What a fun post! I hear myself talking about the poor judgement of youth quite a bit. It reminds me not to be too harsh on young folks making poor decisions. I made my fair share when I was young, and I’m proud of the wisdom I’ve gained. I came by it honestly, and I have confidence in my ability to chart my own way. That’s what youth is all about. Young on!! 🙂

  16. yes,it is totally fine to be young and stupid.I agree that anyone needs to be active to experience a young life even in their senior ages…Alcohol,drugs and other such habits keep people away from active life.Inspiring post!

  17. Oh to be young and nieve again. As I get older I miss those days more and more but then I realize I’ve learned a lot and can now tell my kids what my parents always told me. Everything you mentioned here is truth, don’t take things for granted because later in life….you’ll look back and be like maaaan look what I missed out on.

  18. Me encantó, yo también me diría a mi versión jovencita…..No te mortifiques tanto por el futuro, vive el presente, goza, baila, rie, EQUIVOCATE, se vale cometer ERRORES y se vale aprender de ellos.

  19. This is such a good post! I would always like to tell my younger self that no matter how good or bad you are to people, they will always have something negative to say about you and that to not think of what they are going to say.

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