(Written by Ladun Ogunbanjo)
I think it would be adequate to say that we, as curious individuals, have all gone through that stage in our lives where we question or regret the choices we have made. Often, we label it as ‘a mistake’, but maybe it is more than that. Of course everyone has gone through it, most especially youths and teenagers; a category of the population that we, at Fair Life Africa Foundation, are very familiar with. Also as a person who is part of this category, I know for a fact that we are very prone to regretting our choices and making mistakes.
For instance, let’s say it’s something as extreme as your friends being hardcore drug users and they’re asking you to chill and come try it out, justifying it as a “no big deal kind of thing”. Or perhaps, it’s something as delicate as your friends already having sexual relations, and just because you’re not, they’re accusing you of being a prude. It may feel as though you’re wedged in a position of conflict, and you can’t decide which path to choose. Regrettably, we don’t always make the right decision.
Instead of acting in haste, or allowing yourself to be pressured, think through your decisions, because they matter! Being persuaded by your friends to become a drug user could bring a permanent and negative change to your life, such as becoming an addict or dying from an overdose. There are also many bad consequences of being pressured into sex. It could lead to emotional problems, responsibilities you aren’t ready for, or even something as dangerous (and often fatal) as STDs.
From my personal perspective, we all have two options to choose in life; “the left hand of God or right hand of the devil”. The path or action you adopt will eventually be what defines you as an individual. I believe if you are confident enough and your mind stands firm on your decisions, not even the most persuasive snake can pressure you into making a choice you don’t want to make.
No matter who you are or where you are from, you would make a choice that could change your life for better or worse. When we do make mistakes, because no one is perfect, we often plague ourselves with guilt and regret, which are useless emotions. Redemption comes from learning from your mistake, so that it becomes an experience that shapes your life for the better, and from which you can teach others.
If whatever choice you made yesterday is being regretted today and is labelled as a mistake, then you must learn from it. I know many people constantly preach this, but actually learning from your mistakes helps you grow significantly as an individual and helps you change your perspective in life. So, my advice to my fellow youths and teens is that you should turn every mistake or potential mistake into a learning opportunity!