So, this “youth” thing is pretty fun, right? I mean, we’re all getting a little older, but us millennials are a long way away from being considered ‘old’ and that alone is pretty comforting to most of us. However, more often than not, we tend to exploit youthfulness and take too much advantage of being young. We don’t always realize the importance of sowing good seeds that will benefit us in our future, nor that we can sow bad ones that will do the opposite. Yes, we can sow bad seeds, but take it from the great scholar Young Tiller, and…"Don’t".
The time is now, right in the prime of our youth, to start thinking about the persons we want to be, truly be, and sowing seeds accordingly. But what does it really mean to sow seeds for our future? It's actually really simple: do good stuff, and try, actively work against, doing bad stuff. And this, of course, isn't a new phenomenon. This idea is as old as time, and while I'm calling it sowing seeds for the sake of this blog post, its really just the law of reciprocity. Do good, good will come back to you. Do bad stuff...eventually the same. The good or the bad that comes back around may not always be of the same magnitude that it was planted, but its a fact, that what you sow, you'll reap. Now is the perfect time to start taking responsibility for our actions and really understanding the effects of them. After your teens, being ‘young and dumb’ is less and less excusable. There's a terrible misconception that recklessness in speech and behavior is somehow reserved for our earlier years but that's just not the case. Our youth is an incredible time for development and shouldn't be wasted.
As I grow now, I find myself thinking more about the total 'self'. For example, I care now more than ever about integrity. I genuinely want to be a good person, just as much as anything I'm aiming for professionally. I’m learning to live more intentionally. I’m trying to think a little more before I speak, trying to present myself in the way I want to be perceived because I'm not a kid anymore. Seriously, I blinked and I was 26. Not that that’s ‘old’, but I’m well into adulthood, the age that I always deemed "really grown" when I was a child, and I care more about the actual woman I’m becoming and putting time into the woman I want her to really be, as well as the kind of life I want her to enjoy. That consciousness requires some honesty about myself that’s not always easy. It requires some adjustment. It calls me to understand that everything I do or say is a seed that will become a harvest.
I jotted down a few key seeds that I'm developing and sowing for a harvest that my future self will thank me for and I want to share a couple of 'em with you all.
Words are seeds. I try now, not to say anything bad about myself...(and others, but I'm still working on that part lol). Many of us say things in jest about ourselves, but even things said jokingly are seeds. I used to say stuff like “Ugh, I’m such a mess” or "Man I just can't get right," but now I realize the subconscious seed that’s planted each time I do. Just as harmful words are seeds, so are good ones. I’m incorporating more daily affirmations into my routine and I definitely see the effects. So gone' and "You is kiiiiiind..." yourself a little bit each day. It helps!
I'm also learning that u can sow verbal seeds in others that help them also. I started telling someone that annoys me (I feel like I reference someone annoying in most posts lol) all the good things I appreciate about them, and after a while, they started acting more in the way that I affirmed, and less in the ways that secretly make me want to stab them. I sowed positivity and got it back. And it benefited more than just me! Eeeeveryone needs a little ego boost from time to time, so don't be afraid to give it.
Our behaviors are DEFINITELY seeds. Our action or inaction in this time of life is everything. We're too old to think that we don't need to put necessary wheels in motion for our lives. You want a better job? One that you actually can enjoy and grow in? Then what seeds are you planting in your current one? Are you so mentally checked out that you barely give 50% and never go the extra mile? That’s a seed. Want to be in a happy committed relationship some day? Then you probably shouldn’t be that girl or guy that’s cool with 'dealing' with people that are already in relationships. The whole health thing, falls nicely in this category also. So many of us younger folks eat terribly and never counteract that behavior with healthy choices or physical activity, all in the spirit of being young and having plenty of time in the future to live right. You’re sowing a seed, and being young isn’t a justification. We're shaping our personalities, our character, our bodies, our minds etc., right...now, whether we realize it or not. And the behaviors we're developing now, in our young adulthood, will likely still be around in our older adulthood, so act wisely!
Everybody I know is thinking of a master plan to someday be rich, but most of us are totally missing the boat on the seeds we can be planting right now to yield a more comfortable life in the future. I’m no financial planner, but simply not spending every single dollar I earn, but saving a bit as I go is a good seed. And one seed, that many young people think is reserved for much older adulthood, is GIVING. Philanthropy is a huuuuuuuuuuge seed and I didn’t really consider it much until recently. If you like the work of a certain organization or situation in the city or elsewhere, take out your checkbook (yes I still use those lol) and sow a seed! That return may or may not come back in the same amount or even type that you sowed, but you WILL get a return.
I keep up with a certain tv ministry and each time I watch, I’m greatly impacted by the message and it sticks with me a long time afterwards. At the end of each program, they do a subtle ‘ask’ for donations of any kind, and it wasn’t until probably a couple months of watching that I realized, hey, I really like this ministry and I’d be kinda sad if it was no more, so I’m gonna send them some money with hopes that it helps them continue. Honestly, it felt weird at first lol. I was like dang, I don't get no t-shirt or nun?? lol But it felt good also and it made me want to do the same for local entities in my community. You don’t have to be balling to give. Your $5 donation is huge. Just ask any nonprofit org. Giving is a key element in having good finances. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t have enough money to lend or donate if need be, then you’re not managing your money right. If you spend every penny you get, you won’t have enough to lend a friend or stranger that may reeeeeally, really need it. I’m pretty sure that’s where the term “it ain’t trickin if ya got it” stems from. Maybe not. But I think about that often.
Investing is another financial seed. Consult an informed financial advisor on ways to invest your money so that you have a little more of it in the future. Oh and...now's a beautiful time to get a financial advisor.
We’re also not too young to sow seeds in other people! Millennials are generally self-centered, but its really not all about us. I know many of us may not feel like we’ve yet “arrived” professionally, mentally, spiritually or otherwise, but we all have experiences, thus wisdom, that we can lend to someone coming up behind us. Even if it’s a lesson in what NOT to do. So don’t be afraid to sow the seed of mentorship. With that, don't underestimate the power of 'one'. Don't feel pressed to find the perfect mentorship program, or the need to lead 513 young boys into black manhood. It could be that one kid that u see often in your neighborhood, or your little cousin that you may not spend enough time with (<---me). My current mentor has shaped my life in so many amazing ways, simply because she saw something in me and wanted to offer her .02 along my path. I desperately want to impact someone else's life the way that she has mine, and I will, even if it's only one. And it's never too early to start.
Again, the time is now to start thinking about who we really want to be, in addition to what we want to be. A big part of this process is realizing that we have a LOT to do with that outcome, that end result. Spend some of your youth working [sowing seeds] on that being. Let's make some sounder choices. Don't make folks have to lie at your funeral lol. Decide to be the best you, today. :)