Learning to Grow

From the age of eighteen, we are considered adults… “grown ups”. We’ve spent our childhood learning, growing both physically and mentally and once we reach adulthood, we are unleashed into the real world. The thing is, we only really learn to grow in our twenties.

Throughout our younger years, most of us are guided by adults. We are told what we should be doing, what we should be thinking about, what we should be focusing on, etc. As we get older, we begin making decisions for ourselves but there is still some level of guidance, usually from our parents. In your twenties is the time you truly begin making your own decisions.

Often, it takes a life-changing event for us to see where we truly are in life. We can feel independent or like we’ve gotten everything figured out but when life throws a curveball our way, we can only then see what growing is left to do.

What does it mean to grow up?

True independence. Being able to manage life on our own and not need validation or approval from others. The older we get, the more responsibilities we have and that means the decisions we make have bigger consequences.

Growing up means being able to see the situation realistically. You may have your dream lifestyle, but you may realise it comes with conditions. You start to figure out the steps needed to get to your goals. You also begin to truly see your priorities.

Establishing your own independence is liberating and you’ll notice it has a profoundly positive effect on your mental health. You no longer need to justify your actions to others. You don’t look who you can pass the blame to. Instead, you are aware of decisions you’re making and prepared to take the consequences; whether good or bad.

Growing up = no fun

When we hear the word “responsibility” it always seems to have some kind of negative connotation. In fact, it doesn’t need to. Yes, responsibilities can be scary but it means that your life is moving forward. It can mean looking after a living being (whether the furry or human kind). It can mean having people who count on you. It means being aware that the decisions you make will impact your life.

Having responsibilities, to me, means that you are achieving your goals. You are building your life the way you want to. Having no responsibilities almost means being stuck in the past which eventually becomes suffocating. When talking about responsibilities, that doesn’t have to mean settling down, having a family, etc. but it can mean moving out, volunteering, getting a job, getting a pet, etc.

Learning to grow means that you are building your own life. There are likely to be mistakes along the way but that’s exactly how you learn to grow. You may suddenly spend lots of money on a shopping spree or on a holiday and although that may feel great in the moment, you may find it didn’t have the lasting positive impact you hoped. It may mean that you had to sacrifice something else, like being able to move out, or renovate something in your home.

The final thing I want to say is that it’s okay to be scared about growing up (no matter your age). We are going to continue learning lessons throughout the rest of our lives; but those lessons, we can pass on to others. Yes, you may do the most growing in your twenties, but for some it happens earlier due to life circumstances, and for others it can happen in your fifties. There is no time limit but the moment you realise that growth gives you freedom, you will already start to see a difference.

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