And what happens when you do…
I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard, “When are you going to grow up?” I heard it so many times I thought it was a question from a Double Jeopardy square!
Seriously, if I didn’t hear it from my mother growing up, it was my older brothers asking the same question at various times throughout my life. Then I cannot begin to count the number of times I was queried by my ex-wives. Yes, I said ex-wives, both of them.
It got to the point that I began to interrogate myself. It almost became a mantra. Whenever self-doubt crept into my life…so did “Dude, when are ya gonna grow up?
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t as bad as I make it out to be as a child growing up. After all, I’m not that special. What I mean is, I think I was like every other kid on my block. I made gaffs here and there and of course, I heard this question more often than I would have liked, but what I think was more damaging than hearing it the number of times from others, it was when I said it to me, the number of times I repeated it to myself. It was a seed planted that grew and grew and grew. It seemed to grow more than I did!
I recently read https://medium.com/@disciplinemuscles/https-medium-com-disciplinemuscles-courage-confidence-compassion-conviction-d8d875b9fdd9 by Angela Murray, and I was struck by the characteristics she received and or developed as a result of her mother’s instructions. I like the moniker “Bad Girl Gone Good” and the way she seemingly turned a rebel nature into a force for good. Through her writing, I heard her learn and teach and model the traits of “Courage, Confidence, Compassion, and Conviction.”
Self-talk is a powerful vehicle and regularly asking the question, “when will I grow up or when will I learn?” is not an inquiry that develops any of the four attributes in Angela’s story. If anything, they haunted me and caused me to wonder what I had done to deserve this feeling of low self-esteem. Was I stupid? Was I incapable of learning even when I would face the same questions or situations over and over again? Or, was I just damaged goods not worthy of an answer that would lead me to a reasonably successful life?
The how’s and why’s of my arrival at this station in life are not nearly as important as the realization that something must be different. As a middle-aged man I remember hearing the adage, “If you don’t want what you’ve always gotten, you’re gonna have to do something different than what you’ve always done!”
Don’t ask!!! Why didn’t I get that the first time?
Well, here’s my answer. (or shall I call it my justification for life-long learning?) It’s my belief that when people (myself in this instance) are drowning in difficulties there is a reason for it. I don’t believe we are meant to be dragged through the depths of despair in order to be eliminated from this planet. In fact, it is my belief that we (again, me in this instance) are being presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. Literally!
I was once told that the height of the gift I would one day present to the world would be in direct proportion to the depth of trial I would withstand to discover it. Now I don’t know how true that is, but I do know this. If I hadn’t been faced with the lessons of life thus far, I would not have gained the experience that makes me grateful for every moment I have left, and very proficient as a Life Architect. Do I face sorrow for the damage and pain I have caused in the learning of these lessons? Yes, absolutely! AND, I also have a breadth of perspective that offers courage, confidence, compassion, and conviction to others.
One of the reasons I love living here in the mountains of Western North Carolina is the distinct diversity of seasons. Each one offers a unique perspective and for me, a reminder of the 3 Ch’s of my life lessons. They remind me of the depth of my learning and the potential height of my gifts.
Challenge, Choice, and Change!
Like the four seasons, life presents me with unique CHallenges. I have the CHoice as to how I will view them. If I feel those challenges serve me or others, I can continue to view them as necessary and sufficient. If not, and I realize that I want something different than what I have always gotten, I can CHange.
I will always be presented with challenges. I may or may not know them as such, but they are there just the same. I have learned to see the most difficult lessons, even those that have taken me more than 60 years to recognize, that I can Choose to Change. I can change my viewpoint by challenging what I believe and know that the choices I have made have led me to the point where I am today. I can’t say I’m all grown up by any stretch of the imagination, but I can say…
In this moment…I am enough…just the way I am!
AND, it is never too late to grow up!
May love, joy, peace, and fulfillment walk with you each step of your journey!