By Attiya Karodia

As members of the youth, we’ve been told time and again that our opinions aren’t worth the listen, that our age nullifies what our minds speak and that what we feel is invalid on the basis that we have mistakes under our belts.

I’ve learnt a great deal in my 20 years of life, and the one thing I’ve learnt the most is that wisdom comes from experiences, and not just age. In the new world, experience can come at any age, and experience has led me to some of the most inspirational and yes, youngest wise people I know.

I’ve watched peers fall pregnant, and instead of shedding bitterness and disappointment onto their children, they’ve decided to embrace them as gifts, and raise them with love and support.

My eyes have witnessed friends who were abused by their partners, who have been raped and degraded repeatedly, and I’ve watched them drag themselves out of the wreckage, build themselves from scratch and conquer.

They are not old, but they are wise.

In high school, I watched one of my best friends mourn the death of her sister to AIDS, I watched her recover from a major operation and run short of money to come to school. I watched her rise above her circumstance only to lose her mother, and then I watched her rise again.

She isn’t old, but she is wise.

I watched my mother contract meningitis in my second last year of high school, witnessed her slip into a coma and three years later, I see the strongest woman I’ve ever known in a wheelchair, unable to talk or move. Later I watched myself break into pieces thanks to another hardship, unable to work for 6 months from the emotional trauma, and only days before writing this post did I begin to allow myself happiness without scrutiny. I am not a hero, but I have learnt that my wisdom is taken for granted every day, and I refuse to submit to the notion that is bred among us. I refuse to believe that wisdom is a matter of age, not when I now know better.

I am not old, but I am wiser.

So the next time you want to second guess your own opinion because you feel like you aren’t aged enough, please remember.

We are not old, but we are undoubtedly, wise.