The Teenagers Purgatory And The Valentine Craze. 

The Teenagers Purgatory And The Valentine Craze. 


The teenagers purgatory and the Valentine craze… 

A friend of mine once remarked that the titles of my reflections could pass for Nollywood movie captions, and I went, “seriously?” I couldn’t really tell if it was a compliment or not, but you know me na? I eventually took it as a compliment sha.

Well, that’s by the way. Have you ever wondered why many teenagers totally love adventure? Or why they love trying new things, especially the dangerous ones they don’t even understand? Some say it’s youthful exuberance. Know what that means? Simply put, it’s an almost desperate desire to be heard and taken seriously. It has to do with the longing or the actual expression of self in an obvious manner. We just want to belong. And the average young person does almost anything and everything to belong. This is exuberance. 

I believe that the phase of youth is a purgatory of sorts. We get in there and undergo sub phases of purgation, where maturity, development and growth takes place, and hopefully, we get out of this purgatory better for it (some never really do). But the nature of this purgatory itself is what’s worrying. I wrote something about depression the other day and it struck some sensitive cords in some of my young friends. The purgatory of youth is such a confusing state  that without actual guidance, many never find their way out. They end up condemned to an eternal state of purgation, which is depressing. Phew! This isn’t a good thing. You see, someone once said that the only difference between purgatory and hell is that one has an end, and the other is eternal. So imagine being condemned to an eternal purgation of youth. I mean, what’s the point of purgatory if it doesn’t lead to heaven? Lord have mercy!

But there are a few things we could learn or unlearn to properly pass through the purgation of youth without ending up totally depressed and disillusioned about life itself. We are all familiar with this phase of youth that’s become a purgatory. Aren’t we? Remember the feeling of not wanting to pray, or go to Church, or do those fun things you loved as a much younger kid? Yea? That’s part of it. What about these long and terrible mood swings, uncertainty about the future, the overwhelming sexual fantasies and urges, and others? That’s right. 

It is from this terrible state of emptiness and boredom and lack of interest in many things that we begin to seek whatever is interesting and dangerous. Yes! That’s when our exuberant nature kicks in. The need to belong to a group, to be loved, recognised and appreciated, takes on new meaning. We begin to listen more to those who tell us we have blue sexy eyes, or become more attached to those who take us to exciting places to see new, sometimes inappropriate things, and so on. Pleasure soon takes center stage since it promises immediate fulfilment. 

So Valentine is here again and many young people are already getting overwhelmed with anticipation. WhatsApp and Facebook are agog with suggestive messages. I even saw a list titled “names of guys who would get girls pregnant this Valentine”, and I am like, “seriously?” Pregnancy is a serious thing brother. We can’t just make up lists that would give young people the impression that it’s a walk in the park. Seriously, some things should not be joked with, no matter how comic we feel. We do have a responsibility to lead our young people right. Fornication and condoms won’t create life’s goals, trust me. At best they’ll lead to broken hearts and aborted babies. Drunkenness and drug abuse won’t go against their nature and give you a destiny. They’ll rob you of the one you already have. Expensive gifts and vulgar poetry won’t take you to heaven. Don’t forget, narrow is the way.

So listen to me my dear young people. I know we love fun and fun places and fun people. But this Valentine, promise yourself you would not become a sex toy or someone’s plaything. Promise yourself you won’t take gifts that are overwhelmingly expensive. Some gifts are baits. They have long hooks attached to them, once you bite, you die (quite literally). Don’t be fooled by castles in the air. Anything without a foundation dies quickly. Valentines come and go, and people remain. You can avoid making a mistake just by refusing to be greedy. Don’t try to play smart. There’ll always be someone smarter. 

This phase too will pass away. We just have to really seek what matters, and chart the course of the kind of future we want for ourselves. The most important things aren’t that easy to come by. We need to work hard for them. Pleasure is not happiness. And some, in a bid to gain a fleeting moment of pleasure, have sacrificed an entire lifetime of happiness. Don’t become like those people! 

This Valentine, find those you truly care about. Surprise your abandoned granny in the village with a visit. Call a relative/friend you’ve not spoken to in ages. Buy a sleeping mat for the roadside beggar, and assist a younger sibling with that difficult homework. If you must go on a date, please do it for all the right reasons, and don’t, I repeat, DON’T sleep over. 

Happy Valentine! 

© Oselumhense Anetor, 2017.

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