A friend once asked me about my thoughts on growing up. I answered that growing up is like an adventure, full of twists and turns, and you will never be able to accurately predict what will happen next. It’s exciting and scary at the same time, but positive on the whole. Thinking about it more, I have remembered common phrases like, “When we make plans, God laughs” and, “Life is the hardest teacher. She always gives you the lesson after the test.” I don’t know what everyone else’s experience is with growing up, so I will draw from my own thoughts as I explore what it means.
Early Life Views
When I was fifteen, I remember talking to my dad. I told him that I felt like life was a bit like a video game, where God let you level up when you were ready. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I could start group dating at sixteen. Looking to the future with excitement, I thoughtfully shared that I believed myself to have figured out everything for the level I was on and I was ready to explore the world of group dates. My dad smiled and probably shared some profound wisdom that got caught up in my prideful moment. Of course there were other things for me to learn, and luckily I have been blessed with a desire to learn everything that I can, but it got me thinking: “What if God (or the universe or whatever higher power you believe in) is the ultimate teacher and He has the perfect curriculum for each of us?” As I’ve grown up, I’ve imagined that my trials and heartaches are specifically tailored to me, and it has given me purpose in those hard times. Suffice it to say that my group dating experience was extremely distressing, and it took my young mind a long time to figure out how to overcome it. I became cynical of the world. I learned that growing up means finding out that the world is not as beautiful of a place as I had thought in my childhood. These were difficult times. People became threats, and new experiences were just another way to get hurt. I closed myself off from most relationships, and I spent a lot of time in fetal position when no one was around to see my weakness. The capable person I strove to be became a mere portrayal of confidence, with nothing to back it up. Unbalanced and hopeless, I longed for an escape.
Later Life Views
A couple years later, I decided that I really wanted to change my attitude about the world and to start getting excited to live again. This is my favorite part of my adventure so far. I decided to take college classes just for the fun of it, I made sure to eat healthy and work out often, and I met a lot of new people. I loved hearing all of the different philosophies that people brought to the table. I loved hearing about their dreams and interests. I saw some people who simply dreamed, but I met others who lived their dream. They inspired me to start living my own life. It was like a rebirth. I learned that making mistakes can be a positive experience and that it is better to try and fail than to never start. I learned all about healthy and unhealthy relationships and worked to cultivate good friendships among my circle. Sadness and anger are just as much a part of life as happiness and affection, and I learned that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if that tunnel is depression, and even if it took 5 years to see the glimmer of hope.
This is what I have learned growing up: It’s all about learning and making mistakes. We have to find the beauty in the world. As someone once said, “Your life becomes what you focus on.” Each day is a new day to explore and improve ourselves, and whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring, we can still keep moving forward and making this world and our lives better. Sometimes adventures are not the things you plan, but the attitude with which you meet the unexpected things.
What have you learned growing up? Share in the comments, or post using #GrowAdventureCore.
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