Growing up ain’t easy. Changes in our lives, people around us, school, jobs, parenting, loss of friendships, death of loved ones -these are all unbearably painful. However not nearly as painful as growing up and away from who we once were. The old routines no longer feel familiar. Our dance partners still stuck in the same 8 count while we are learning a new routine.
It’s scary becoming who you are meant to be.
It’s exhilarating to witness these exciting changes in yourself and then totally sucks to have the people closest to you react negatively because YOU don’t fit their mold anymore. It’s dangerously easy to slip back into those patterns, those routines. They are cloyingly familiar like a worn blanket. They cling to you, calling you back into the dark folds of their patterns. Initially they feel warm and comforting but quickly can become suffocating. If you’re anything like me it’s not long before you are sweating profusely and tearing at them to get free.
Lately I feel my feet are stuck moving one step forward, two steps back. My own personal dance rhythm moving me almost imperceptibly backward. I clearly see the person I am meant to be yet she often seems out of reach. In my 20s I figured at (almost) 40 I’d be waltzing closer to her. When I was 30 she felt only a few steps away yet here I am. Maybe that is what turning 40 is about. Maybe it’s not about “zero fucks given”, maybe it’s about only giving the right ones. The ones that allow you to become your best version of you. The ones that show others who you are and how you’re going to be treated. The ones that demand they, those other dance partners – whether spouses, family members, collegues or friends, pay attention or be left alone on the dance floor. Maybe it’s about understanding that it’s always ever been two steps forward, one step back…even when it feels like you’re doing the reverse.
Nothing worthwhile is easy.
I tell my kids all the time that nothing worthwhile is easy. Anything great takes a great amount of work. Usually right after some sort of failure. Yet, why should I be any different? I’m sure it would be easier if I didn’t want to be great. If settling for just anything was enough. Yet every time I try to give zero fucks, every time I try to stunt my own growth whether out of my own fears or for someone else’s idea of who I should be I see myself not all grown up but all grown old. I see my body withered by time and my life passed by. I see God upon my death showing me each time I gave up on giving a fuck about being great and where I would have been and gone and done and seen if I had given them.
No, growing up is not easy, but growing old without it would be even worse.