Ask Mr. Manners

Knowing when to grow up

A few words of advice.

“Life is not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.” Unfortunately, life’s card game does not come with the disclaimer that you will experience heartbreak, hard times, and you will eventually, and inevitably, die. But putting all of that aside, what is important is that we have some freedom in how we choose to react to situations. You never know when these things will occur, and that’s the catch in the contract that you involuntarily sign the day that you are born.

Life’s hurdles are vast, but in my experience, I had the most significant transitions going from being a teenager who lives at home, to a college student who didn’t live at home but relied on my parents for most things, to a grown adult who takes care of everything on my own. While each situation is unique, we all experience a hiccup or two along the way, but growing up is part of life. One of the most difficult lessons to learn is that you can’t just pick and choose which parts of being an adult you like and which ones you don’t.

So, now that we have acknowledged that, it’s time to ditch the excuses, accept the truth, and grow up.

The truth about growing up is merely not a guarantee. It’s a privilege. And sometimes it’s a privilege that we acknowledge too late. Secondly, growing up is about forgiveness. About forgiving ourselves for past mistakes, and future mistakes. It’s saying sorry when you’ve done wrong, and forgiving those who have wronged you and haven’t apologized.

Growing up isn’t glamorous at best, and taxing at most. Growing up is learning to release your inhibitions early on, and to swallow your pride, to give someone else a hand when they need it. It may sound difficult, because, well, it is. Growing up is difficult, and it comes with obstacles that are often out of our control but making peace with conflicts marks maturity. It allows us to reflect on milestones, memories, and have glowing pride in our accomplishments. While it’s not glamorous, it is humbling, and although we don’t always seek to publicize those experiences, they are the moments which transform us from who we are to who we can become.

We want independence, which is commendable, but with great independence comes great responsibility. Part of growing up is not just fiscal responsibility, but also a responsibility to the generation after ours. An integral part of growing up is to become not only a custodian of the past but also a herald of the future. For a second, a single second, don’t wish to grow up too fast. Instead, focus on giving yourself the experiences required to grow up at the right pace and embrace the changes which come.

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