Life has a most unfortunate way of dulling our passion, our spirit.

It’s tough to keep speaking out if you’re a lone voice, and the temptation to just keep quiet, to keep the peace, becomes strong.

Also, of course, the everyday routine of life, and the need to worry about the black bags, the dogs’ food, the children’s study fees, the broken washing machine – all manner of things – takes centre stage.

I recall driving to varsity one day with my flatmate, Craig – we were going at snail’s pace along De Waal Drive in Cape Town. This was in the late 70s – we both had pretty wild Afro hairstyles. We looked around us at the middle-aged people in the cars on the road, and struggled to find a smile. People weren’t talking; they were looking straight ahead, with blank expressions on their faces. We, on the other hand, had the music playing at full volume, and we were excited about our day. I remember, so clearly, saying to Craig, “Look at these people. They’ve got no LIFE in them. I’m NEVER going to become like that!”

I understand a whole lot better now, of course.

But I still love the sharp blade of a young person’s tongue. I love the undulled spirit that young people show. Like most people my age, I struggle, sometimes, to distinguish spirit from cockiness, but I’d choose it any day over dullness.

So young people – tone down the cockiness a bit, but, please, never lose your edge.

Never allow life to dull your spirit.