As you grow up, everything about you becomes more defined and clear cut. It’s no longer easy to be undecided, in the gray or to switch from one side to another. Every move you make seems to have consequences ten times its size.
I’m not talking about turning sweet sixteen or finally being able to legally take alcohol or have a driver’s license. The kind of growth I’m talking about is less of an event and more of a realization, epiphany you could say. It’s the kind of growth where you finally see the world for what it was, not the movie you imagined it to be. You finally realize that your parents might have had a point and maybe you should have considered their opinions more regularly. You realize that most of the time, you’ve got to take care of you because no one is willing to drop all they are doing to come and bail you out of a rut anymore.
Mostly you realize that life is unfair, it’s not a straight path where if you follow steps A, B and C then you will definitely get to point D. We are not living in a perfect world and while you win some, you will surely lose some along the way.
I’m a pretty optimistic person. I believe that good things are always coming my way and that I don’t ever have to be down for too long and so far, I’ve landed on my feet each time. But lately so many things have been happening, one after another and I found myself battling with feelings of anxiety, guilt, bitterness and inadequacy sometimes. I was beginning to lose faith, and I am nothing without my faith (In Jesus Christ, just to be clear). So I decided I needed to take a second and get to the bottom of this, find out what was causing all these alien feelings to rise up from the dark pit where they belonged and yup, you guessed it. I blame growing up 100% for all that’s happening to and around me!!
I don’t like to dwell too much on the negative. If there is a problem, then you can be sure there is a solution. These are the three things we are going to have to embrace to live a happy life as grown ups:
You choose what you want to do with your life
Forget the career your parents wanted you to have. Forget the pact you made with your best friend at the end of High School to go to the same college, have the same major and go on to live next door to each other for the rest of your lives. Chances are you haven’t seen the ‘bestie’ in months because she moved to another continent to pursue her dream of being a Hollywood actress and you’re over here studying till sunrise to become a lawyer. One thing you learn pretty fast is that no one is going to tell you what to do anymore. No one is going to check on you to see if you’re skipping your classes at postgraduate school or showing up late to work every morning. You decide what direction you want your life to take and you decide how much effort you are going to put in to ensure that you realize your goals. You’ve got to have self drive, and you’ve got to be motivated from within. So, decide right now what it is you want to do with your life, who you would want to be five years from now, and begin TODAY to take steps toward becoming that person.
You choose who is in it with you
As you grow up, your circle becomes smaller and smaller and within that circle is another even smaller circle and another inside of that one. People are going to disappoint you, stab you in the back, let you down, abuse your trust, take you for granted, kick you when you’re down, name it. Even those in your most inner most circle will shock you when you least expected. Your friend’s nastiest character traits will be brought out into the open and I can assure you its going to be ugly. And painful. And you’re going to wonder if there is even one single soul that you can actually trust in this world. But guess what; we are all human, we all make mistakes (yourself included) and no one is perfect. We all need people in our lives, one way or the other. You can’t go deleting the numbers of everyone who let you down just once from your contacts. Although your tolerance will dwindle almost to non-existence, you have to be willing to forgive, to give people second chances. You’re on a journey, and you will need a person or people to pick you up when you’re down and to celebrate your achievements with. You will have to be willing to put effort into maintaining friendships in spite of your crazy busy schedule, and to show up for the deaths, births, weddings etc. You’re going to have to choose who is going to go the actual journey with you, and then you’re going to have to let them in.
You’ve got to keep on moving
Change is the only constant in life. Things will go pretty well. Things will go pretty badly. Friends are going to let you down, someone else might get that promotion, and maybe you’re not as popular as you once were. Or maybe you will get your dream house way sooner than you ever thought, your children will all be top of their class and you are the employee of the month. Either way, NEVER ever get complacent. Take time to enjoy your achievements, and grieve your losses, enjoy the journey but you’ve got to keep on moving. The sky is no longer the limit. After you’ve achieved your goal, move on to the next one. Go on to become even better than you ever thought you would be, to do greater than you thought you would do. Don’t ever stop; not until you’ve breathed your last.