Written by Gracie Lawrence
Here I am in my early 30s and a few times a week at least I hear heart wrenching stories about our youth. I understand that this newer generation of Muslims live in a more connected world and have difficulties that were unknown to me in my time. However, it seems for the most part they are falling into some of the same traps over and over. Maybe you are the first generation born in the West, maybe you are a convert whose parents have been here for generations, or maybe you just recently moved here from overseas.
I think that one more list on how to not mess up your life can only help, and this list is for you. You might not have problems with all these issues, but if we can spare you just one, we will celebrate.
So here we go, world. What follows is from the experiences and tales of many a young person, now old, all collected and combined to help you, if you will only listen.
The Top 5 Regrets of Our Youth
#5 Falling for Mainstream Media
It is all about making you into a good little consumer. Yes, maybe that is good for business and the economy, but in all honesty- most of what you see in TV dramas and commercials do not matter –ask any mature adult. Things that you need do not need advertising.
No one needs to convince me to buy bread. That is something I would do on my own without a reminder, diamonds however need constant advertising because no one really needs that. Use your brain, don’t fall for it and don’t fall for people who do- they will make you miserable.
Young people, we understand that you are in the stage of building an identity and the fact that you are young probably means you really haven’t done much to make you feel like you have one.
Dressing in name brand clothes, just makes you a walking billboard, and looking towards movie or tv created characters to give you some guidance is just as unoriginal. Instead, try focusing your identity building energies into doing some really creative or helpful activities.
Organize or be a part of community volunteer activities, or try mastering something- it could be a new language, website building, sewing or an art…something …anything. Throwing on a pair of expensive sunglasses is just LAZY. W
hen you get older it will not make you interesting. Cool guys and gals looking to marry will be more impressed with a bit of French, that you are a chess master, or created your own comic book line rather than the fact that you own a bunch of expensive shoes.
Need more guidance than that and emulating is your thing- I have the perfect solution for that! Look at the prophet (peace be upon him) to help build a healthy Muslim identity. There is more to him than what your parents have told you. You might be surprised. Go read something.
#4 Dabbling in Drugs/Alcohol
Not everyone is into this, but it needs to be mentioned because this is actually a problem that exists in our communities. Interestingly enough, it is not just consuming these things, but selling them, because there is a whole lot of money in it.
Guys like money, because it makes them feel strong with all that spending power and they notice the girls watching them. Girls, help out by not being so obsessed by what a brother can buy you, and brothers- please- you know it isn’t right, even if you plan on repenting later (if you get a “later”)…what kind of plan is that??
For those that experiment and consume these substances, I don’t need to tell you it is haram. Just remember you are taking a huge risk of becoming an addict. Some people automatically become addicts, and for others it takes time- which one will you be?
Who knows, just don’t do it. I’ve never met anyone that regretted not dabbling in some drugs or getting drunk. Spend your money on something else; entertain yourself with more worthwhile people (see #5 above). Memories (or lack of) an activity you fell into while under the influence is most likely not going to have a happy ending.
#3 Not Focused on Future Employment
People say “go to university so you can get a job”, not so true in the West anymore- not everyone wants to or can go to University anyway.
I am just saying:
#1 figure out what kind of employment you are going to be chasing (we all need to pay bills and eat in the real world)
#2 figure out what it is going to take to get there (is it a degree, an apprenticeship, work experience?)
#3 hustle, young blood
20s aren’t the new 30s- you need direction and good plan. If you realize that you don’t really have one- it is okay to ask for help (you’re actually smarter for it). Poor and confused at 30 is no fun. Before you know it, you are going to be partnering up and maybe even having a baby or 5.
Knock this stuff out NOW. If motherhood is a career path you choose, having something to fall back on in case disaster strikes doesn’t hurt. It is nice to be in the position to help others and not having to ask for sadaqa (charity) from others.
#2 Being Asinine About Your Parents
I know, they seem boring and aggravating now. It is strange to think that someone who has lived much, much, much longer than you can actually know more than you. Maybe you look at their life and think “why should I listen to them, look at their own life,”- as if people do not learn from their mistakes and then have valuable guidance to give you.
Maybe they have not even been super nice to you. Young people, as a general life rule -unless you have gone through what someone else has gone through – you really have no right to judge. That means, until you have kids that you have raised from baby to teens you really need to keep your “critical analyze” to yourself.
There is a reason being good to your parents is so important in Islam. You owe EVERYTHING you are and have first to Allah, and then to them. Go ahead and disagree with me now- we’ll talk again in 10+ years (extreme cases exempt from this- seek professional help). Another thing, parents die, and when they do -it is horrible. Even if you are so emotionally harden that their passing means nothing to you, just realize that at the most basic level, that means you have just moves up in the ol’ mortality line.
For those of you that have a heart, you’re going to feel like a selfish bucket of ^$&* every time you think of the time you were too busy to spend time with them or just make them a cup of coffee.
#1 Pre-marital Sex
There was a huge sermon about this at the masjid I go to. Turns out parents are sending young men and women to university or into the world expecting them to suppress their natural biological desires until the best possible marriage possibility comes along. That means for some guys- into their 30s. Good grief, even the religious amongst us are falling into zina, because it goes against nature for goodness sakes.
Parents- you are being unrealistic. If you are lucky and your kid isn’t out there fornicating, there is a possibility your kid might just bring home a wife/husband you don’t like, hook them up (to be clear- help, not force) before this happens if a nice daughter/son-in-law matters to you.
Young, people, maybe you just plan on being friends with that cute guy/girl. Nothing is going to happen, because you are both in the MSA, right? WRONG!!!!!! I have heard so many stories of this happening, both parties being so tempted that they find themselves going down a trail of ridiculous justifications and excuses, until bam zina has been committed.
Zina has regret stamped all over it, not like a bad dream you can just forget. This should not be happening in our communities. Our country is stable, not chaotic, and relatively wealthy compared to the rest of the world. Just get married people! If he/she is delaying it- you are being played…sorry…truth hurts…find another guy/girl- there are so many.
As for the guys thinking they are just going to mess around and not marry the girl they are playing: realize that many guys end up marrying girls they never ever, ever, EVER thought they would because of this. Also many a baby and STD have been made/spread by failed contraceptives and with 110 million STDs among men and women in the USA- good luck figuring out who is who.
Being young is not easy. I estimate about half of you will fight me on every topic here (because you know better; and this won’t happen to you-sure, good luck with that). The other 49% will agree with me, but will not follow the advice here (you are a special snowflakes, which means the average pattern of life doesn’t apply to you *massive eye roll*).
But to the 1% who does … you guys are awesome and will have plenty of room in your closets- instead of the bunch of skeletons your cocky peers will acquire through the next 10 years.
Go forth and prosper!!
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