I imagine myself looking back at my life.
What do I see? I see a lot of learning and unlearning.
I see a lot of mistakes, some blunders and a little girl growing up to be a woman.
Would I have changed anything in my past? No way! Not a single thing! Whether it was the raging effects of chronic sickness and medication, seeing my family disintegrate or my story from a topper to a blooper in school; subsequent depression and panic attacks, my family’s battles with illness and heartbreak or my brother’s violent paranoia, my fallouts with employers, surviving without a steady source of income, overcoming loneliness or coming to terms with singlehood.
I believe that every one of these experiences shaped me into the woman I am today and as much as I cherish my moments of sunshine, in retrospect, I cherish my struggles as well.
Life has been one big package of surprises-some good, others bad but it always taught me to be a stronger woman and individual. Those who understand that life is tough know that life is a ride that can turn from a roller coaster to a smooth highway in time or continue with endless bumps and pot holes, but one has the choice to accept it and move on any way or play the victim, cry foul and waste precious energy in being unproductive.
I know circumstances can be hard but now, I also know if you are willing to take responsibility for yourself, you will grow up in no time. I used to throw pity parties before. Not anymore. Somebody has to deal with the shit and if nobody else is around, you better roll up your sleeves and get done with it. No blame game. No self pity. Just adulting. Be grown up.
You also develop a thicker skin as you grow up. Some might call it insensitivity. I call it maturity. Once you are done with the tough stuff, you just make up and move on. No grudges. No backstabbing. You get your act together and be cool. And this means you must cut off toxic people from your life sometimes. That is not selfindulgence; that is self-preservation.
Additionally, you learn to laugh at yourself. Your flaws and foibles. That is what makes you uniquely you. And you will accept them. It takes a sense of humor and courage to laugh at yourself. And if you have mastered the art of cracking a few jokes at your own expense, you are nearer to becoming a better person. You are growing up.
Once you are really grown up, you also start seeing the bigger picture. You realize that there is more to life than I, me and myself. You realize that life is more than your bank balance or the reflection staring back at you from the mirror. Status becomes optional: you can do with it or without it. You realize that helping others grow even as you grow simultaneously brings you fulfillment. Empathy, compassion and forgiveness become something of value to you.
Finally, and very importantly, you become anti-drama. You become anti-nonsense and anti-nuisance.
I think I have grown up quite a bit since the last time I remember. But I also know that the day I think I have been there and done it all is the death knell to my growth.
“I am still learning.”