Growing In

We are wired for admiration. After all, we are social animals. It’s why we love books, and movies, and also celebrities. We see in these stories and people the qualities that we wished we possessed. But at what point do we dare to embody the things we admire in other people? Or even mythological and religious figures?

That is truly growing up. And growing in.

Taking the leap to do the things we really love is the only way we will grow. And we must grow, or we become ill, in many ways. Yes, it can be difficult, painful, frustrating, and terrifying. But think about this–would you prefer I tell you all about what happens in the movie “Black Panther,” or would you rather you go see it and experience all the peaks and valleys of emotion for yourself? Which would be more fulfilling?

Truly living is doing.

At some point, we must look very deep within and find out what exactly we are here to express. It’s different for everyone. And squarely in my mid-forties with two fast-growing children, I can tell you that this self-searching is not convenient or easy. It’s that ‘now or never’ feeling, but regret is far, far worse than trying and failing.

The good news is, the things you admire in others resonate with you because, on some level, you possess these same qualities. It’s why you’re attracted to these things–they are familiar. They may just be buried deeper than you might realize.

If you’re a writer or artist like I am, the exercise of making art helps to reveal these dormant gifts. I like to use writing prompts with my students when I lead poetry workshops to help them access thoughts and feelings they have forgotten or locked up in some far corner of their minds.

Here’s one of my favorites: 

Write a poem from either your former or future self to your present self about something to let go of.

Try it, and let me know how it goes! In time, like flowers, we all come into full bloom. Be patient with yourself and learn to enjoy the process. Also check out my poem about aging, titled “Age,” at Big Drum Nation. 

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