Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.
I have come to the conclusion that growing up is a myth. Or maybe, a device used to create the illusion of progress as we all try to be who we’re supposed to be. To give us hope, that if we keep learning from mistakes and changing our views into more educated, mature opinions we will somehow become Adults and therefore fulfil our epic destiny in this world. But what if that’s not the case? Growth is defined as the process of increasing in size, so theoretically, we are all always growing whether we recognise it or not, but luckily physicality and mentality are just sisters, not twins. Yes they influence each other, but they are never and should never be the same.
I remember thinking growing up would be this magical movie-montage of stupid mistakes followed by moments of clarity and the occasional moments of devastation and triumph. It’s true that it still could be in the future, because really as long as you live, even though every living moment is one moment closer to death, you are still growing. This is a paradox in the nature of humankind that seems bittersweet but really, it’s just fair. But in reality it’s just a bunch of teenagers trying to cope with things whilst trying to cling to the safe, carefree nature of being a child.
Wikipedia defines how to grow up in three steps: 1. discovering yourself, 2. acting mature, and 3. living responsibly. It’s common knowledge that wikipedia is always completely accurate, so this is helpful. It lets us skip the boring ‘figuring out what we actually need to figure out’ phase.
Let’s start with number 1. This is something I’ve always been intrigued by, the idea of ‘finding yourself,’ as if ‘you’ are not the person you choose to be at any given time, as if the Real You is a destination or a fictional being. So far the only things I’ve learned from trying to succeed in this stage are that the only real ways to ‘find’ who you are or, more importantly, who you want to be, are: firstly, figure out what kind of person you want to be. What traits you’re going to always prioritise, no matter what. Kindness? Confidence? Enthusiasm? Do you want to be the cool, although possibly condescending person who thrives on popularity or the cool, kind person who makes the happiness of others a priority, or, the cool, kaleidoscopic person who doesn’t necessarily want to be anything other than to have a fun life and see where it takes them. Regardless of anything you will be cool, obviously, because you’re reading this in the first place. But really all of this is trivial, because the liberty of it all is that we don’t actually have to choose.
Number 2 is a stage I don’t think any of us have reached yet, and don’t intend to for as long as humanly possible. I could consider being mature if it accommodated things like watching movies at 2am on school nights and watching Lizzie McGuire episodes online when I want to feel 10 years old again. But sadly I don’t think if actions were categorised they would be filed under ‘maturity.’ Number 3 is on the same wavelength, we have plenty of time to be human moral compasses when we’re older, for now we just have to give things like decisions and responsibilities our best shot.
What I’ve learned so far on the whole ‘growing up’ thing is that there is no right way to do it. A lot of the stereotypical aspects are true, such as learning from mistakes and discovering new things. But a lot of them aren’t. I think the only way to really ‘grow up’ is to do cheesy things like try your best at things, seek opportunities and change, learn as much as possible about anything and everything, as well as things like listening to every kind of music and attempting every kind of hobby, and not letting your view of yourself or others be blinded by trivial and temporary things like popularity or academic achievements. As long as you know that you don’t know who you are, and you’re confident and proud of your metamorphic state of being, you can face anything.
So if your life isn’t progressing as smoothly as the character that’s the same age as you on your favourite television show, don’t stress, because we’re all on the same boat here. Literally. I’m writing this on a cruise ship. Not really. But I wish I was. Because that joke would have been good and cruises happen to be way more fun than growing up.
- All photos are ones I took on a walk through the Fairy Glen back in Autumn with Becca. My favourite place. -