You live once, but you grow up thrice.

Hello, my dedicated readers. It has been a while, and for that, I must apologize. I felt I had much to say, but no great way to say it. I don’t ever want to feel I’m wasting my reader’s time, but most importantly, I want to feel proud of everything I deliver. Until now, I did not feel I could do such a task. I am, however, going to attempt to post more regularly. With that out of the way, one of the reasons I’ve been so quiet is actually the topic of today’s blog. It is my personal opinion that each person grows up three times.

The first time is legally. In the United States, an individual is classified as an adult upon reaching the age eighteen. At eighteen, most teenagers are finishing, or just recently finished, high school. They’re preparing to go out into the world and take in all it has to offer. Many are filled with hopes of what the future holds. Some begin working, others go off to school, while others wait patiently to see what comes their way.

The second time a person grows up is independently. This is the first time an individual pays a bill on their own, acquires debt of any sort, makes a big purchase, so forth. This is growth in the sense of realizing you’re on your own. I should mention now that each stage of growth can happen at any point. A person could reach this stage at sixteen, or be considered legally an adult at sixteen depending on circumstances. Like much of life, these are not considered absolutes.

The third time an individual grows up is, arguably, the most difficult growth of them all. Mentally. In many ways, this growth is depressing. It is the realization that life is not what you thought it would be, and the people you’ve surrounded yourself with are not who you thought they were. This is the moment where long held relationships are brought into question, closely examined to judge compatibility. It is the moment when you question everything you’ve done with your life, and compare it to what you want to do in your future. Have you made the right choices? Are your actions moving you forward? Dreams are replaced with reality. It is a hard pill to swallow, and can break you. It is painful, much like the growing pains of our youth, because not everyone reaches this stage at the same time. You’ll find friendships that you’d always counted on distancing, interests you’ve always held slipping away into obscurity, and you’re left wondering…what’s the point? You feel, suddenly, very alone.

What is the point?

Here’s the beauty of the third stage. It is not a guarantee deal breaker. Those around you may grow to match your new found adulthood. Others will not. Your priorities will change. Just like when you made your first big purchase by yourself, you can control how this growth controls your life. Those that refuse to grow may cease to matter, but you find those who grew with you grow closer to you. Dreams may be replaced with reality, but we all shape our reality. You now have the clearest mind to make those dreams come true. Perhaps with some adjustments. This is different for everyone and it is painful. But you have the strength to push forward.

The reason for my silence can be blamed on growth number three. I’ve had to make quite a number of changes in my life, not all of them easy. I did feel broken. I fought hard for friendships I knew, deep down, were over. I’d become so focused on the lack of direction towards the things I wanted that I became stagnant. Upon realizing what I was experiencing, I finally surrendered to it and accepted the change. I was the one holding myself back rather than making myself go in the direction I wanted to go.

I started having dreams again.

I’m not holding onto as much stress as I was by trying to conquer the world’s problems, while it spit on me in return. I learned to pick my own battles, I learned to appreciate what was important. It hurts. It absolutely hurts. You begin to accept the things you cannot control, you cannot handle, and you find a new path. Even if you have to carve that path from stone with a spoon.

Do not be afraid of this growth, my friends. It is okay to be afraid. It is okay to make mistakes. It is okay to try new things. It is okay to fail. It is okay to say no. You will come out the other side stronger than ever before. I am not preaching from the perspective of a success story, I’m telling you from the point of view of someone who has finally realized…life is mine… Truly mine… And I’m okay with that.

I hope this, in some small way, helps someone out there.

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