Growing Up

Ever think about the term “grow up?”  What does that mean?

We spend all our energy from the time can think clearly working to grow up.  Little kids talk about what they will be when they grow up. Teens dream of the freedom they will have when they grow up.  We graduate from high school, and most people think they’re there. That’s it, I’m out of school, I’m grown up.

But then there’s college, with your parents paying part of the tab, checking on your grades, and setting curfews when you’re home for the weekend.  After college, if you move back home, are you growing backwards?  Are you grown up if your parents don’t pay for your wedding?  Does growing up have anything to do with age or life’s milestones?

I’m a middle aged woman with children who are themselves nearly grown up.  I have finally come to realize that, like a child, I usually don’t face the hard things in life.  I have lived with my head in the sand for so long I can barely breathe in fresh air.  When life is scary, I always run away.

I am learning now that facing fears is a big part of what makes us grown up.  Working through problems instead of hiding from them, dealing honestly with people instead of telling them what you think they want to hear, going forward when you think you can’t move a step, these things are part of growing up.  I don’t think they happen all at once, or at any age or milestone.  I think that maybe we never finish growing up.  For every level of maturity we reach, there’s more to reach for.  We can be stronger and braver.  We can be better than we think.  Things in life happen that stretch us as far as we can go. And if we don’t break, we grow.

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