“Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.”
I was having a coffee break with some colleagues this week.
The conversation turned to all the depressing news of today, and it got me thinking about living in the post-truth era. “Ignorance is bliss”. It seems those words have never rang truer, and I don’t think it’s because I’m biased.
For me, ignorance represents many things. It’s a state of mind that has good qualities, for sure, like more comfort and happiness. But there comes a point where you have to choose reality, even over your contentment. There comes a time to grow up.
I’ve gotten past that phase, that so often lingers after the teenage years are over, when you try to shake off being a kid.
Now I look back more often. It’s amazing how many memories you can suppress for years, then find still intact.
Remember when you had to ask permission from your parents to do stuff? When you begged for a new toy in the store? When you pleaded for ice cream? When most of the TV news seemed like a foreign language? When other countries, and the people in them, seemed as distant as fairy tales…and so did the future?
Remember when you thought adults know everything?
I was a kid sitting in the back seat of the car. I stared outside, looking at all the signs, the names of the shops, wishing I could read. I thought, “when I can read, I will read absolutely everything!” Now I know not everything is worth reading.
Some days, growing up seems like the rarest thing in the world. It’s nothing short of horrifying to look at the great leaders of this world today, how our safety depends on people with the mental capacity of 10-year-olds, their chubby little fingers hovering over buttons of mass destruction.
It’s not just on TV, though. It’s everywhere you look: the neighbors you hear yelling at each other, again, the coworker that throws tantrums over insignificant things and the person who holds a grudge against you after all these years. The fake friends. The stranger that jumps the queue, then lies about it to your face.
Growing up is realizing we’re not that special and yet, we have a real impact on the world that we have to take responsibility for, as well as our own lives.
Essentially, growing up is important so we don’t get stuck in a vacuum of nothingness – not being kids anymore but not adults, either.
Why is growing up hard? Because…
- We’re scared
- We’re scarred
- Hanging on is easier than letting go
- We don’t want to
We thought we would know what we’re doing by now. We thought we could never hurt people unless we meant to. We thought there would be a sense of purpose. We thought there was some sort of fate, guiding us, and terrible accidents would only happen to other people.
In order to grow up, first, we have to forgive ourselves for not becoming the adults we wanted to be.
Why should we grow up? Because…
- In the end, there is nothing to be afraid of
- Without growth, there is no life
- Sometimes, we have to do things we don’t want to in order to be happy
- It’s never too late to become the adults we wanted to be
- On Finding Myself: an open letter to teenagers
- After the Dust Has Settled: Moving on and Healing
- Gratitude – Wouldn’t it be Loverly