A young man’s take on growing up
By ZACHARY LAU
Growing up is a funny thing. At least for me it was. When I was younger, I could not wait to grow up. I was the spunky impatient child who would sneak a drink of coffee to show people how “grown up” I was.
I learned fairly early that I do not like coffee (no offence to my coffee junkie friends). Back then, getting things done without help from my parents was the most grown up thing I could imagine.
Nowadays, responsibilities, chores, assignments are all ganging up on me taking their turns, turning me into their own personal punching bag. Though that may sound like a downer, I assure you, it’s really not.
Depending on what angle you view it from, it’s a new challenge at a new chapter in life for me. It’s a story with endless possibilities. So now, as I bid goodbye to my teenage years and take the big step into young adulthood, here are some things I learned.
We all feel invincible at some point
Stepping into a new age group and being granted more freedom, makes you feel like the world is an ocean and you are the captain of a ship.
That feeling is addictive. You’ll want to do your best to keep that feeling and not let anything get in the way of that. Which is why in an effort to keep that invincible feeling, people shun from making mistakes, and there in itself, is already one.
Don’t be afraid of falling. Instead, remember how to get back up again. On one of my more recent YouTube browsing (procrastinating) sessions, I stumbled across a video about what it takes to grow up.
One particular quote stood out to me, “when you scrape your knees, find beauty in the colours you bleed.” Even as you stumble across a roadblock, take solace in the fact that it is a new experience and how it may help you grow as an individual as you continue your journey to the unknown. Which brings us to the next point.
Being open to learn from those stumbles
I have always been described as somewhat of a stubborn child. Even now, sometimes I still do not like to admit if I was ever wrong. Then again, who does? This has probably exasperated my mum to no end.
However, allowing yourself to pause and own up to mistakes, opens the opportunity to learn. Everybody must start somewhere.
Being open to learning from mistakes and working towards improving yourself are marks of becoming a true leader. Every great story of revolutionary people across time all start out from mistakes at first.
Thomas Edison with the lightbulb, the Wright brothers with their airplane, even yourself as you learned how to walk. Everyone stumbles in the beginning, what matters is how you get back up.
We are all eager wide-eyed children at some point, diving into exploration. If there is one thing about growing up, it is definitely the best age to learn.
Being open to change
The big leap from our teenage years into young adulthood can be a bit disorientating. But don’t let this frighten you away. If you choose to anchor at the same spot, you will never be able to sail forward.
Yes, there is comfort in familiarity but will there be enough growth? Just like in a game, you earn experience as you progress into new levels. We have to constantly move forward to become the ideal version of ourselves.
Chances are one of the biggest changes you will experience is in terms of social circles. You realise that you don’t gel as well with some people and only some old friends still stick around.
The people we meet at one stage of our lives may not necessarily stay for the other. However, each person will have their own role to play, their own lesson to teach you. Acknowledging this fact will make you value each connection you make.
Keep moving forward!
That line from Meet the Robinsons gets stuck in your head every time you watch it. Stay in the same spot and you’re never going to move forward. We feel comfort in the familiarity. At the same time, is that really where you want to stay though?
Being at the age for experimentation and experiencing new things, it is the perfect time to broaden your horizons and expand your views. Take leaps into new experiences.
It may seem scary at first, but trying new things always are. The more you venture out of your comfort zone, the bigger it becomes and thus the better you become as a leader and most importantly as a person.
Have some ‘me-time’
It is a high-paced world out there and it isn’t slowing down for anyone, anytime soon. This stresses the importance of taking a few moments to yourself. Turn off your phone, go for a walk and breathe it all in.
When you’re chasing your dreams and you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, take just a brief pause to turn around and look at how far you have already come.
Think about how much has happened that has changed you, from that curious excited child you were to where you are now. Think about what you have managed to achieve all by yourself, think about the people that helped you with this transition.
The pride you will feel when you think back certainly gives you a sense of accomplishment. And that feeling is priceless, it will help give that push when you’re at your lowest and when you finally do achieve your dreams, those moments are the ones you’ll think fondly of.
Our generation is often put up on displays, to be viewed by passers-by. The expectation is that we grow up to be someone who “fits” into the grand scheme of things and so, we do our best to put our best image forward, hoping that it will fit into the idea of what an ideal person is.
We forget that underneath those displays we put up, we are all still growing and learning. So, if you feel lost now or have no clue what it takes to be a grown up, breathe in and hang in there.
It’s alright to feel all these things especially when you realise how little guidelines there are when it comes to growing up. Everybody is figuring out stuff at some point. We’re still learning, exploring and experimenting with new things. Keep running around, exploring, and picking yourself up when you stumble, and wear those scrapes proudly. Most importantly, never forget the child you once were.