The meaning of growing up has been plaguing me for some years now. What does it mean to grow in this society. I believe for most of my life I believed growing up and being an adult was getting a job, getting married, buying a house, and having children. However, I have come to realize that there is no true accountability for self in that “adult” model. That model is simply a framework on how things can be done, but it does not make us an adult.
Dr. Maya Angelou once wrote, “I believe most people do not grow up. We find parking spaces and honor our credit cards. We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we mostly do is grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces…” If her words her are true (which I feel they are) then there is no precise act that accounts for how we should become an adult. There is no specific blueprint to adulthood. A career, house, and family does not make us an adult. Paying bills on time and keeping things in precise order is not necessarily making us an adult. Sure, it makes us responsible for those entities but as for growing up, they add no certain value. What matures us is truth, being in tune with who we are and how we plan to impact the world around us, and then living in that purpose. Growth is more of a calling than it is a responsibility. Growth is a place where we become our full selves, a place where we nurture our emotions, and heal our wounds. In responsibility you can be broken, but in growing up you must be whole.
Case in point, a few months ago, I purchased a plant. It is beautiful, green, and the perfect accent for my living room. One day I sat the plant outside to water and allow it to get sun light. While out there, a one of its stems creased. I figured if I straighten the crease and mend this stem, as I had seen my mother and grandmother do before, then it could continue to grow. However, despite my effort the break was too severe, and the stem began to wither. I had to remove it from the rest of the plant so the plant could continue to grow. I wanted to keep the extremity out of wanting the plant to look richer and fuller, but had I attempted to keep it for external reason, eventually, that stem would have corrupted to rest of the plant. Life is no different. We can toll day and night for every physical gratification, but if we have not truly dealt with who we are inside and took hold to what is truly important, than the things and people who we come to possess are just that… mere possessions that will turn into resented responsibilities.
The continuance of Maya’s quote says “… but generally our real selves, the children inside, are still innocent and shy as magnolias.” So, why not go back to the innocence and shyness of who we truly are in order to nurture and grow into who we are destined to become