I’ve learned a lot about the art of growing up in the past couple months. It’s exactly 2:50 in the morning and I sit on my bedroom floor admidst pillows and candlelight. Slighlty melodramatic? Of course, I am fully aware. But somehow at the same time, completely necessary. You see, you can’t always choose when inspiration comes to you. — when needed meditation (literally) wakes you from slumber and calls you to pick up a pen and write. When it’s in the early hours of the morning and although you will still have to fufill the day’s tasks ahead, personal reflection takes precedence over slumber.
And what are you to do when inspiration calls?
Answer, of course.
At twenty, I am far from mastering the art of growing up. However, these past few months taught me that growing isn’t at all a linear passing of years. It is a patchwork of moments, woven together, eventually adding up to what we call aging. Often times, you don’t know that growing up has occurred. One day, you look back at your year and ask yourself “who is that?”
“Oh,” you’ll respond. “That was me. Me before who I am now.”
Other times, life will quite figuratively tear you apart, pull you to the ground, and take everything that you have while you are down. You’l lay there broken until you learn to heal your own wounds and move on. You’ll move with a limp, bruised and broken. Eventually, you’ll lose the limp, but the wounds are deep in your bones and you’ll remember what it felt like to helplessly ay on the ground looking for a hand to drag you to your feet.
There won’t be a hand. Life surely won’t pick you up. You can be the only one to pick yourself off the floor. And when you do that, you’ll arise anew. You’ll grow up. Until you learn to pick yourself up though, not with the help of alcohol, drugs, toxic relationships, public approval, material possessions, or any other lie that will continue to pull you down, you will not grow. Only you, unapologetically you, can make yourself grow.
I will no longer tolerate things that pull me down. I do not know where my path leads, but I do know that putting myself, my goals, and my values first will lead me forward. Your twenties are a time to be selfish, because your selfish acts now, as long as positive in nature, lead to you to be able to perform great deeds of selflessness one day. You will have earned your freedom to act selflessly. You’ll be financially free. Free from needing drugs or alcohol to drive your life. Free from other’s expectations. Freedom to find spirituality, to separate yourself from worldly things, and free from confining habits. Do not apologize for wanting more than the pleasure of the present. Do not apologize for wanting more than to drink the nights away. Do not apologize for being you. There is so much more than what others may lead you to believe. Chase your dreams and they’ll catch up to you.
Someone told me that I would not be able to find people who thought like me. This person told me that to find other’s who didn’t want the pleasures of the present would be impossible. There was no one like that here.
I’ve never been more taken aback by ignorance in my entire life.
To believe people do not put aside please here and now is just not true. I just spent three weeks in the summer with people who did just that. People with drive. People with ambition. I spent my summer with people who see more in life than what is right in front of them. It made me extremely sad to think that some people in my generation don’t see the beauty of striving above and beyond and are fine with complacency. How very, very sad.
I understand the need to find yourself but don’t mistake the search for complacency. Sweet words do not hide the fact that your goals and drive are either underdeveloped or nonexistent thus far. I do not judge you. Surely I was there once before. But I feel great sadness for you because you are yet to find the joy that living truly can be. Pleasures have their place. But they are not truly living. Enjoy yourself, but there cannot be anything sweeter than to find your dreams, find good love, find meaning, find spirituality, and to know your strive for more in life is more than enough.
I pray that one day that person who has no faith in our generation wakes up to find it. Maybe it will be that slow, gradual growth. You’ll wake up one day and wonder where all this beauty in life came from. Or maybe life will throw you to the ground and you’ll need to pick yourself back up. Then you’ll find that faith. More than anything I hope that person finds faith in themselves. I hope they become unapologetically dedicated to striving forward and away from complacency. I pray you find what life is all about. Be selfish in your ambition so one day your selfish acts now lead to the freedom to perform deeds of great selflessness. I pray you find your own way of learning what growing up is all about. Overall, I pray you never stop growing until your last breath on this beautiful earth. I pray you push you hands into the soil, breathe the fresh air, and live greatly for the moment. Never settle, strive forward, live your life.