What Growing Up Means for Adults

Have you ever stopped to think about what it means to grow up? Do you interpret it literally as the two words imply or is it representative of something more abstract? For most of us, to grow up is to grow wiser. It’s the accumulation of our experiences that eventually work to shape our worldview. It can be used as a criticism toward someone's actions or taken as a compliment if one is said to have ‘grown up’. No matter what the phrase means, there’s an obvious disconnect between how it’s used and how we reference it in our everyday life. In any case, the concept of ‘growing up’ is a journey away from what once was. Growing up is to imply a departure from what currently is. Seldom do we take time to reflect on what life was like before we were called to adulthood and what it means for us.  I am sure we can all agree that we miss how simple life felt when we were children.

 

Photo by: Johannes Plenio

 

I was watching a couple videos of myself as a toddler with my family last week and I got to thinking: “What about childhood is so soothing and nostalgic?” Personally, my childhood represents the season in my life where I was most innocent and authentic. I’ve noticed that as I grow older, I find it more difficult to let my own personality shine through in new and precarious situations. It’s almost as if age allows us to develop a sixth sense which we use to have a continuous internal dialogue with ourselves. While this dialogue can be useful to help us rationalize making decisions, it can also make us miss out on opportunities to put ourselves out there for fear of judgement. As we grow older, we lose the feeling of invincibility that we once had as children and we start to replace it with feelings of embarrassment and prejudice. Personally, I can admit to needing some work in this area as I find myself trying to reclaim the identity I shamelessly lived out when I was younger.

 

Photo by: Japheth Mast

 

As children, we didn’t have a sense of not being able to accomplish something. Children remind us to be limitless in our aspirations, our ideas and the way we see the world. Being a child reminds me of a time when I believed I could do anything and that anything was possible. At some point, as we grow and mature, we lose this feeling. We disregard our understanding that we are all unique and capable human beings. Instead, we put ourselves into boxes or we simply give up trying. Remember that you are as dynamic and bold as you choose. Every home movie reveals the story of your life. It reminds us that we are fluid and ever growing. The fact that we can grow is a gift and so is the fact that we are able to look back and reflect on our past. This school season, I challenge you to reignite the light that once possessed your heart and to keep living with the faith that you can do anything. Good luck!