Saturday, November 27, 2004

On Growing Up: Where do Butterflies come from?

Growing up is generally considered to be facilitated through the attainment of certain rites of passage, sometimes referred to as benchmarks or milestones, that tend to be held by our culture/society as important measures of achievement, progress and success, and the means by which one demonstrates their importance and/or place in the "grown up" world.

This understanding, however, is far more simplistic than realistic. We, as people, seem to search endlessly for the answer of what it means to be grown up. Is it when you can finally answer the questions "How can you understand how I feel if I don’t even understand?" or "When will it all make sense?" Is it when you get your first job, learn to drive, loss your virginity, get married, have a baby, buy your first car/house/portfolio? Is it when you have categorically succumbed to the many other stresses that our daily lives are riddled with and made it through?

I am considering writing a book (as always). This one is already there in my head, I just have to decide whether to share it or not. It does have a potential title – "The Year I Went Grey" but it might be more aptly named "The Year I Grew Up."

The story of ourselves growing up is the quintessential story of humanity and yet our child self eludes us adults like an enigmatic stranger discernable only with a sort of peripheral vision that we apply sparingly to our own memories with an intent curiosity, which is not unlike the process of revisionist history. It is the application of democracy to our childhood adventures, picking and choosing what we remember and with which way we remember it, how we tell our story. But sometimes the story's rightful beginning is not always at the very beginning.

At it’s start 2004 threatened to be just like any other year. Instead it rapidly became a year of tragic life lessons, a year of surrendering quietly to that which we can only live through and not change. I learnt the true meaning of acceptance, of coping, of priorities, of loving, of family, of living, of being a partner to my husband, of rising to meet challenges, of remaining sane.

In all of this, I learnt how to survive. I recognize now that it is within these themes that I have finally attained that level of maturity that, with all confidence, I can say to myself that I have finally become a "grown up".

And I am going to stretch my wings.

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