Gotta Grow Up Sometime…

* pardon any typos…stream of consciousness…tried to find them all*

It’s true, growing up takes longer than we are led to believe in childhood. (That is, growing up in all ways beyond the obvious physical maturity.) It’s amazing to think of how you look at the world from youthful, just-becoming-an-adult eyes and feel passionately that you’ll have all of life’s big questions figured out and all the negative habits you picked up along the way will have also, worked themselves out…basically, you’ll have your shit together and be successful and settled.

It really, really did seem like there was plenty of youth to sort out all your bullshit. There was plenty of time until 40 or even 45 to make the successful progression from novice to master in whatever your chosen profession was that you followed through to college and even started a promising career. Whatever the dream, it is supposed to be WELL within your grasp by now. While some things have come along, it’s maybe not as far as you expected based the timeframe you had in mind. For me that vision included being settled into a career, married with a kid or two and living in the mountains, in the house I designed, living and working according to my own schedule while  making more than enough money to have everything I require and then some, but I actually give a lot of it away to the many causes I am a part of…that’s what was supposed to be in place by my late thirties. I know, I know…hold for laughs.

Get out your tiny violins and record players. It sounds like a comical (and very typical) realization that probably most people come to when they aren’t the dream of themselves they saw in their youth.

Yet experience teaches us that life cannot be planned up to the moment. As a wise colleague put it – life zigzags and you have to be able to zig and the zag with what life throws at you. A path, including and especially the path of your life, is very rarely a direct route.

Interestingly as I muse on this topic and think about it with other people of my generation (those between ages 35-38), we seem to (many of us) have experienced a series of false starts as we embarked into our lives. We were certainly not satisfied with the lifestyles of our predecessors and elders. Getting a job and building a suburban family life was not enough. The idea of being able to do everything you wanted professionally and creatively AND have a healthy grasp on the intimate side of life (at least for women) was brought forth before I was burn. But by the time I matured into a very young adult in the late 90s, I had specific plans and I was going to see them through and they were simply just going to go the way I planned, with minor variations as I can handle being on the fly, but basically things were going to progress and get bigger. I could see it and taste it and feel it in my bones. And I still do but I’m SO much more experienced now.

I have been beaten up a bit more by life and my own mistakes well enough to know how to temper what I expect and demand more of myself. (By the way the 90s were one of the coolest decades and I was coming of age in it. Mad props to have come up in such a time that only NOW do I realize was so great since I always wanted to be from the 60s but now I appreciate my own time period.) But basically, it feels like many of us from this time period had a rocket ship start right out of the house, like way early, so that by the mid thirties it became necessary to “start over.” Start over professionally, find a better life partner, basically a reset button was required. All that we established to set up our vision of how life was supposed to go seemingly disintegrated in the middle. This was owed to a combination of naivety and the inevitable facing of some of life’s harsh realities. So we started over and found what worked better for us and got some things pretty darned right (even if we did it by accident). But in your early thirties you still think you have P-L-E-N-T-Y of time to accomplish some major goals before 40. You also don’t realize how your 30s is the true bootcamp for life.

And then you wake up one morning and your thirties are almost gone! Age 37 crossed the boundary into 38 and 40 is a LOT closer than it seemed seven years ago. What happened to all the time?

Why aren’t I as far along as I thought I would be by now? It’s not my fault is it?

Well, of course it is.

But you know what? The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that big of a deal as you have all the time you need…that is IF you are taking action and moving forward each day. Leaps and bounds aren’t always necessary. It’s in the step-by-step and day-to-day that we find we are progressing. When we look back over the steps we’ve taken, we can then see it for what it is. Growth cannot happen fast. Success and money can come at any age – it can come way early and it may come way late or at any time in between or not at all, at least in the form you imagined.

But true inner growth and evolution can ONLY happen over a matter of years. It takes time to realize life is complex and what you have already done is actually more than you’ve given yourself credit for in the past. You’ve found gratitude, plain and simple.

I see it now. It makes so much more sense now. Far from the campy adages of “you’ll understand when you get older,” it’s actually true that as you continue through the journey of life, life becomes more obvious – at least what works and what doesn’t – and you can truly act as composer/director/president of your own life by making specific choices and decisions that can take you in the direction you want to go and ensuring the energy around you (i.e. other people and your own thoughts) is uplifting and follows suit with your heart’s pursuits. It simply has to be that way. I’ve tried to keep “friends” that indulge all my bad habits or stay around family that generate only feelings of “less than” and stayed in a job that was sucking my soul away. I’ve tried speaking only in positives while internally beating myself up for any small infraction. I’ve held my mind hostage with my insecurities and dogmas about who I am and what the world should be. It ALL holds you back by closing you off from the greater world around you, from the possibilities of life, from the best version of yourself. Your internal and external environment matters, it just does.

At some point one really DOES have to grow up in all senses of the term. I feel that time has come for me. This reality has been screaming in my brain for the past three years and I’m on the precipice of staying put or moving forward. I choose to fly and I’m ready to release the things that no longer serve me while embracing the ones that do.

In this next year of my life I reclaim my youthful wonder at the possibilities of life. I affirm that I have all the time I require to accomplish my dreams and live a fulfilling life. I’m already well on my way!

Happy Birthday to me!

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I see Them. I see You. I see Me. Woman Sees World.

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Full Circle

Accumulating everything that one can experience and feel – the “all that we’ve been through” moment between me, myself and I – I have to say that self-reflection, self-acceptance and self-growth are BY FAR the most gratifying. Oh my, Oy! I’m growing up…I’m grown up. (Deep breath, pat on back.) Maturity thy name is…me! Well for sure, I’ve grown MUCH in the last five, 8, 10 years and seriously, it’s been a whirlwind of overwhelming-ness the past five, and I have the memories to prove it. Through it all, through the bad and the joyous, awareness crashed upon me. With maturity, with growth, comes acceptance and inner power. Watching the Universe produce the life I decide and create, on my terms, is just a bleepin’ beautiful thing!

Isn’t it astounding how life can truly come back around full circle? It really does, even beyond those times when you thought you got off the ride so long it couldn’t be restarted – but of course it could – with tenuous inner work and care, learning to love the self, reigniting and reclaiming your (my) own power!

Damn, it feels good!

There are many of us in our mid-thirties who by age 30 had set up our lives they way our 20-something-selves saw fit and later realized (a sinking feeling that set in years before) that we didn’t make the right choice. Maybe we didn’t make the best choices earlier in life, and then maybe those choices were just what we needed/could benefit from “at the time.” Sure it’s cliché, but clichés come from a truth that’s been overdone. We definitely made some missteps, some wrong decisions that led us to begin building our lives with the wrong partner, career mistakes, detours, et cetera. But things change and we have changed!

I speak for us (mid-30s, GenXers, anyone born in late 1970s to 1981) and the reclamation period of life that is our time right now! Love, career and self fully in tact or at least on their way to being so. We know what we want and know exactly how to get it! No more of detours or excuses!

Life is always happening right now, but just right now. The past is history, the future’s a mystery…that old chestnut.

But the truth is, that’s true! I’m in the prime of my life and I can see all the past movements on the path, the script, the story of my life and how those actions/decisions/movements all led me to right now. I also see how it was impossible for me to forsee each movement to bring me to this place. This dimension doesn’t allow any other scenario. Everything does come full circle – what you want/need out of love, work, one’s own experiential reality, an appreciation beyond just the self – but not until one is ready to accept it…period.

I did lose myself in the muck for few years. Maybe I flailed a bit from my core, flying out from the center like a moon out of orbit from it’s planet or a sailboat with a broken sail in the middle of stormy ocean waters, (that yes, I put myself in and yes, I had to learn the hard [aka experiential] way, but with the disclaimer that such decisions also came from the fact that I was inexperienced). Overall, though, what’s important is acknowledging vulnerabilities to work past them and gain inner strength. Those choppy waters and stormy skies didn’t (and cannot) take me down, no, no no! Just as I knew (and know) what I’m made of and that I could (can) do it, I got (get) ME back and here I am – me, life, inspired creativity burning my brain once again! Full circle.

And even if it drives me batty and sometimes scares me and I thrash around, I love this ride of being human!

Gimmie those waves! I’m ready to surf. 😉

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I see Them. I see You. I see Me. Woman Sees World.

Thank you for following the WSW blog.

Follow us on Twitter @womansees and Facebook here.