Opinion The Youth Issue

Why we’re the generation that’s not taking a break

"Taking time off is a move often judged by others."

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By Latifah S.

Image: Shutterstock.

When was the last time you sat in a garden and did nothing but that? I mean really listened to the sounds of birds chirping, noticed the shapes of the clouds, and enjoyed the breeze as it brushed against your skin, with no phones and any kinds of distractions? The last time I felt that way, so carefree, was on a recent trip to a tropical island, and that’s because the resort deliberately had bad cell receptions, no satellite TV, and I was once again merged with nature, the way I was when I was just a little kid.

I have the most beautiful backyard, but I don’t get to enjoy it. When I’m not writing or working, I would always find something to occupy my time with. I would find an errand to run, a friend to call, or just scroll down my phone screen for hours. I’m always on the go. I am never alone with myself. I don’t give myself a chance to really be. This has led me to wonder if I was afraid to be with myself. Do I not  enjoy my own company, or do we tend to believe, as millennials, that doing nothing equates to failure? I believe it’s the latter.

My friend has just turned 24, and she feels like an utter failure because she hasn’t yet found the job of her dreams, is yet to find the love of her life, and doesn’t have two children to care for already. She sat on her bed the other day crying her eyes out. I snapped her out of it stating that if someone had seen her they would think that she was 90, on her deathbed, and that she had wasted her life away. But my friend isn’t alone, and it was hard to talk her out of what she was going through.  It’s the curse of our generation. We want everything now. We have no patience. Taking time off is a move often judged by others, and we are expected to always have goals to strive towards.

We live in such an instant world that we want everything done yesterday. We scroll through different people’s timelines on social media, browsing through their curated lives, and we feel left behind. We forget that it’s curated content, that it’s a filtered show, and that between one photo and the next is a struggle or a challenge that took those users from point A to point B.

Though we may enjoy more privileges than say our parents and ancestors, which some would argue should make us feel content, it doesn’t seem that way for us. A study by the University of Liverpool and University College London reveals that young people are more likely to be depressed today and harm themselves than they were 10 years ago. 

Following our dreams is a noble pursuit, but we shouldn’t miss out on the current moment, our beautiful lives, because we want to live our future in the present. As I’ve personally been through this, I know that these blissful breaks that we give ourselves from time to time, simply by sitting in a garden, going on a phone-free vacations, are the ones that will help us in reaching our dreams faster. They will help us in nurturing our creativity, enhancing our focus, and ultimately lead to overall satisfaction with our lives.

The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.

Latifah S. is a Khaleeji storyteller based in the US and the Gulf Region.