Geralyn Wichers

"Life is a great adventure, or nothing"

Channing Tatum, when asked about stripping as an 18-year-old, said “If you’re gonna do something stupid… do it when you’re young, don’t do it later in life. I went ahead and made sure I did every stupid thing from the time that I was born until about like twenty-three years old and then I started dialing it back” (1).

When I heard this, my gut reaction was “wrong!”

Perhaps I’m just bitter because I’m a boring person who’s done nothing exciting all my twenty-three years and now, according to the esteemed Mr. Tatum, must start dialing it back.

Darn.

The extent of my crazy exploits is taking a Mini Cooper S down a busy highway at 100 miles an hour. That’s it. I hit my rebellious stage really late—about twenty. I had my first drink at twenty (For American readers, legal drinking age in Canada is 18). Thereabouts I started cussing and I had an epistemological crisis in which I questioned everything I believed and if my parents may have led me astray. I’m kinda still in that rebellious stage, but it’s the tamest rebellious stage you’ve ever seen. I have not one drunk party story or crazy ex-boyfriend to my name. Heck, I’m kinda a ‘good girl’.

So I might not be qualified to have an opinion here, but after giving it some thought, I decided that Channing’s got a point. When we’re young, the stakes aren’t quite as high. We can recover faster. We don’t have the same family responsibilities, and we have less to lose (like money, houses and status).

Youth is the time to take risks, have adventures, and explore our identity and purpose in life.

To his credit, Channing used his ‘humble’ beginning as a launching point for a very successful acting career. All disagreements about morality aside, that’s admirable.

Here’s where I challenge his theory:

Youth is too precious to waste. Think about it. It’s the prime of life. Your energy levels are higher than they’ll ever be. Your mental faculties are as sharp as they’ll ever be. Young people can adapt faster and learn faster. Young people love to innovate, and try new things. They’re less jaded and beaten down by life’s hardships. And, like I said, with lower responsibilities, if what you try fails, you’ve lost far less.

This is the perfect opportunity to attempt great things. This is the time to devote yourself to a mission: whether it’s a business, a non-profit, a church, a project, art or education, even starting a family.

We’ve already wasted so much time—on Facebook, on shopping, on sleeping, on pure hedonism. And me too! I’m preaching to me, here!

In the last couple years I’ve tried to take more chances, work harder and discipline myself more because I don’t want to look back and say “I wish I’d done that”. I’ve had some great experiences already, and I’ve made headway in finding a path for my life. I hope that as I become braver, less selfish, and gain wisdom, I can do great things with my life.

No age is too late to begin on a path of significance, but I believe its best to start when you’re young.

Note: Neither young people shouldn’t rush forward in arrogance, but should take council from people older and wiser (more on that in “The Art of Mess-making”). I know myself, and I tend to go to extremes with my ideas, which my older friends have been kind enough to temper before I could do too much damage. Books and audios have also been very helpful for me.

Anyone care to agree or disagree on this one? Older readers, I’d love to hear what you think.

(1). “’Magic Mike’ Unscripted: Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum.”
September 16, 2012. Moviefone. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcpaTGGrdX8&gt;.

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