I know that we all have a little girl or boy inside of us, no matter how old we are. At 40, I must say I still feel very young. If I had all the time and the energy it requires, I would be as adventurous as I can be, given that I love travelling and the outdoors so much.

I never explored the outdoors when I was younger but I participated in most extra mural activities during my school days. In high school, I excelled at athletics, running 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m track barefoot like Zola Budd. After school, I participated in karate at a local community centre. I was very good at it and beat up most of the boys, until one day, when this boy I beat regularly probably trained well and won. I never went back to that class.

But being an adventurous person, I never let that get me down. I asked my brother who was a ballroom and Latin dance champion at the time to teach me. It took two weeks of strict lessons and I had aced the moves. Life was fun!

When I was in my twenties and started to earn some money, I thought to take on some responsibility and invest in my career by studying and partying hard. After work, I would either study or paint pictures to relax until Friday when my friends and I would go partying. Sunday was reserved for church and on Monday, everything would start all over again. Life was good. I enjoyed being out and about and meeting people, exploring myself and what life threw at me.

I fell in and out of love so many times. The older I became and the more my heart got broken, I learned that life was great and that we are in charge of our own destiny. I also decided to never compromise my future and that I should see God in everyone else because one never knows when that ‘Mr. or Mrs. Right’ will show up at your door step. So, I let go of the insecurities and the doubts that I had and started to embrace life to the fullest.

I might not have had much when I was young, coming from the township, but I sure did enjoy life and growing up. Today, thanks our 20 years of freedom, our youth have so many activities to choose from. I still feel young and I do more now than ever before. I travel the world, meeting different people and learning their cultures. Feeling youthful is being able to live freely without prejudice. Collecting as many memorable experiences as possible in this lifetime.

We will always have that little girl and boy inside of us and we should never shut her or him up when they want to come out. Be who you are and what you intend to become. We all go through life’s challenges until we evolve into the person who we were meant to be. We should not feel discouraged when things don’t work out as they should. Be you and explore you. Life is too short to live with regrets. So as we approach Youth Day on 16 June, go out there and do what the little boy or girl inside of you wishes to do.

ri-dot