May 18, 2016

The Myth of Growing Up.

Sarah Mak/Unsplash

We’re never really done.

I was watching my son play baseball this weekend, and I listened to his commentary, his dialogue, his self talk.

I observed how he spoke to his teammates, what he said when he made a mistake, and how he coped with a mind that won’t hold still.

I felt his awkwardness in deciding which parent to listen to and be with. I saw him use humor to manage uncomfortable situations. I heard him call out the mistakes of others loudly, yet refuse to acknowledge his own. I saw him, eight years old, learning about his world.

I watched my daughter interact with her multi-age classroom classmates on her last field trip. I watched her giggle with the sweet younger girls, and play silly games, and laugh at corny jokes and marvel at the scenery. I saw her shrink when the older girls got sassy. I saw her look to me when they were rude or unkind to their classmates. I saw her try that talk on, and then flush with embarrassment when I called her on it.

I felt her conflict. I saw I saw her struggle to find a place in between a little girl and a young lady. I heard her try all at once to be independent and still my baby. I saw her, 10 years old, learning about her world.

I watch myself at work, struggling to like the parts I don’t like, buried under a mountain of financial stress and guilt. I notice how I avoid tasks, how I’m no longer following through, how I get the things done that come easily to me, and then how I schedule myself into spaces that don’t leave time for the difficult tasks.

I feel myself stalling. I see myself reading my journals and notes and remembering what it was I committed to doing and realizing I’m not doing it. I hear my mind’s inner dialogue as it argues with itself—“Do what you love, and the money will follow. Take risks. It will be okay.” “No. You are not that privileged. Take care of your family, follow your passion after hours. Be realistic. Be a real adult. Be smarter. Play it safe.” I see myself, 35 years old, learning about my world.

And then I remember.

We are all still learning. We are all still growing. We get through the awkwardness. We get through adolescence. We go to school, and learn the things we want to learn, and go out into the world to be an adult, and still—we’re learning.

I’ll figure this part out. I’ll get back to me, back to my core, back to what makes me work best, and then? Something new will come along, another lesson. A new struggle. A different challenge. It is all learning. It is all growth. And it is all shared.

Together, we’re all still growing up.


Author: Michelle Sweezey

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Image: Sarah Mak/Unsplash

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