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He said: “It is for the her in the future – for you in the future – that you must begin to grow now. Do it for the child. It’ll be okay. She’ll take your hand each step of the way and you won’t lose yourself. And when she is ready to let go, she will let you know. And that will be okay. You’ll be with her the entire journey; you won’t miss a single moment. But do it for her. She needs you.”
As I enter my last year of university, I am faced with the reality that my future awaits me outside these university walls.
For twenty years, my life has revolved around a school schedule–from the three-year-old girl in pigtails clinging to her mom’s skirts on her first day of preschool to the 23-year-old girl (still in pigtails), entering the lecture hall for her first day of her last year. A necessary education structure has determined my schedule.
And now, with the schedule about to crumble, my mind begs the question, “What will happen next?”
Growth occurs in all parts of our lives. It occurs in everything from our relationships with ourselves and others to our professional careers and personal achievements. It is an integral part of life and this becomes painfully obvious when we are faced with choices and decisions we must make. For growing up is not paying lip service to our core values, but acting on them.
We grow up the moment we realize we our living our own lives through our own choices.
Through the choices we make and decisions we must trust. We are not told what to do anymore. Nobody is holding our hand every step of the way. Nobody will punish us if we make the wrong choice; they are here only to guide us now. The actual steps are our own and it is our responsibility to walk them. For in doing so, we allow our hearts, minds, bodies and souls to grow.
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In relationships, we are forced to grow up because a relationship is a partnership between two people. A relationship is the heart of one holding the heart of another and growing together as one. We become women instead of girls and men instead of boys when we learn to empathize and understand our partner. We grow up when we put ourselves in the hearts of another and learn to love both ourselves and the other person with hearts filled with patience and commitment to each other.
In our professional lives, we are forced to grow up when we take on a project we must deliver, even when we must compromise other parts of our lives for this job. It means sacrificing our time for the chance to prove our knowledge and our self-worth to ourselves.
It also means understanding how perfectly acceptable it is to make mistakes and to ask for help.
Fundamentally, growing up is about seeking the child within our souls again. It is listening to the inner voice who yearns to skip through fields, laugh aloud, and ask “why “ about everything. One does not need to be old to be wise. There is the most wisdom in children for their minds are open, their curiosity is genuine, and their hearts and souls are pure. They question the world because it is what they want to do. They look after themselves and their friends. Growing up is holding onto our childlike minds and hearts.
Remember this: growing up is not growing old.
It is growing strength and love. It is growing young hearts and wise minds. It is a ride of our lifetime and this is necessary, this is wonderful.
She lifted one foot in front of the other. The sand beneath her toes were grainy and the sun shone in her eyes. She had been hiding like the molluscs under her shell, not ready to come out just yet and face the decisions she had made. But now she was ready to reach the sunshine; no fear would hold her back anymore. She was stronger, braver and smarter than she believed. She could and would make it through.
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