5 Things Cat Stevens’ ‘Oh Very Young’ Taught Me

It really does not matter how long we have on this Earth.

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Oh, Very Young is a song that sets out to ask the question of what will our legacy be when we leave our bodies.

Cat Stevens wrote this song when he was just 26 years old. The question of what we end up leaving behind is something that we have to ask from a very early age, much rather than later.

Oh very young

What will you leave us this time

You’re only dancing on this earth for a short while

And though your dreams may toss and turn you now

They will vanish away like your daddy’s best jeans

Denim Blue fading up to the sky

And though you want him to last forever

You know he never will

(You know he never will)

And the patches make the goodbye harder still

Oh very young

What will you leave us this time

There’ll never be a better chance to change your mind

And if you want this world to see a better day

Will you carry the words of love with you

Will you ride the great white bird into heaven

And though you want to last forever

You know you never will

(You know you never will)

And the goodbye makes the journey harder still

1. If we lived right, it really does not matter how long we have on this Earth.


This is the question that Cat keeps posing to the young person in this song.

What will they leave us?

This is a question that everybody should ask themselves at least once. We are only here for a very short time. Youth is not a good indicator of how much time we have dancing on this earth.

Death comes to us all. It does not discriminate age, race, and beliefs.

The beautiful thing about death is that if we lived right, it really does not matter how long we have.

Take example the life of Rachel Corrie who died at the age of 23 in 2003, while standing up against bulldozers in Rafah who were about to demolish homes of the people living there.

Not a lot of people I know can say that they stood up against oppressors in their lifetime, even those who have passed the age of 23.



2. Striking the balance of holding on and letting go of your dreams, is the key to a peaceful state of mind.

Our dreams as he mentions keeps us up at night but our dreams changes too, as or priorities tend to change over time.

Now, I am firm believer of holding on to a dream but I think what Cat is trying to say here is that never allow yourself to get too caught up in a dream that could fade.

Striking the balance of holding on and letting go, is the key to a peaceful state of mind.

Cat himself established his dreams when he was just 18. That’s when he became a Rock Star.

It was not until he was 29 that he finally quit the music industry to reconnect with God through Islam.

The very young Cat Stevens at that time had to let go a big part of himself to start the journey towards God.

He had to say goodbye.


3. Allow yourself to change your mind.

Being young is perhaps the most ideal time for any of us to change our minds but can there actually be a right time for us to change our mind if we decide we are not in a position we want to be in life?

I have spoken to one too many people, who thought it was too late for them, and a lot of them are very young themselves.

They believe it is too late for them to change who they are to become better.

There is no time limit on this but there really is no excuse for the young to not decide to change their mind about something.


4. You want what you love to last forever.

This is a struggle I am going to admit that is probably one of the hardest things I personally have to fight with.

The thing is there will be moments in life that are just perfect- Sitting down by the barbeques with the most amazing people you can possibly imagine God could send you in this lifetime; Working on a job that you just get excited to wake up to every other morning; Traveling around the world and experiencing a new culture every other day; Conversations and laughter with the family.

These things are not meant to last and it is so hard to come to terms with at times. How could such beautiful moments past by so fleetingly.


5. Goodbyes makes the journey hard.

Yes each goodbye makes the journey a lot harder than what we tend to expect. But life has to go on.

At times goodbyes are necessary for us to power up in life. Spiderman for example would have never ended up fighting crime if Uncle Ben was not taken from him.

The goodbyes we say in life is just a way for God to let other things make our way.
So, Very Young One. What will you leave us this time?

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