Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Growing Pains

Last night my oldest daughter complained that her ankle was hurting despite not doing anything to injure it. I began explaining about growing pains when mid lecture, a thought materialized: the struggles we go through in life are growing pains. Now we can't avoid physical growing pains but when they are circumstantial emotional/psychological, we feel like we can find a solution or at least take a pain killer for it. Most folks assume that because their physical body has grown past a certain age, they are adults but that's erroneous. While it is a fact that your brain changes a few times during your life and supposedly locks in around 30, you can still be a mental child until you die.

Growing sucks. It's work; it hurts at times and usually, the pain doesn't feel like it's connected to anything happening. Kids don't realize they have grown unless they make marks on the doorway to compare against. Whenever I get discouraged, I look at where I have come from and as a friend quoted the other day "I'm not where I was so I will not always be where I am". 

I think life is a process of trying to attain maturity. Not maturity in the "I'm old and have no fun" sense but more of a clear vision of yourself and the universe. When you know who you are and live it, it is empowering. You know that no matter what happens in life you will be fine. That is because you understand what you do and do not have control over and set your expectations accordingly. 

Being you isn't an occupation, it's an idea that shapes your world. I realized that I've been trying to figure out how to make money with the talents I feel are expressions of my personality however, that is a backwards way of thinking. This is what keeps people from self discovery because they say "when I save up enough money" or "get the kids out of the house" etc as if suddenly the stars will align. Sure there are things that could make it easier but do you want to wait that long chomping at the bit? Many times people fritter away their entire lives waiting for that opportune moment to start actually living only to have it elude them.

I don't write on this page with the hope to make money and now, I'm throwing away the notion that anything I am should have to make money. Usually it's a natural result of being your best self but not always and that's due to a world you can't control possibly misunderstanding you. I will continue to pursue what fascinates me and that will shape my life in certain ways. Values are not goals. A goal is an achievement, a value is a lifestyle. I enjoy watching TV shows and movies, but not more than I value time with my partner, children and myself. I value writing and conducting my own scientific experiments more than spending money at the bar. There are others but just those two values determine much of how I will live my life in the time outside of work. Sure, if I had a ton of money and ample time, I would love to go to the movies and out to eat all the time, but those are just accessories to what the core idea and values of who I am. 

The key to growing is knowing what weights to carry and having endurance. Typically you think "the bigger the muscle the stronger it is" but that's not necessarily true with human hearts. If you have an enlarged heart it means that it's developed more muscle mass which shrinks the ventricles and actually reduces the pumping capacity. Psychologically many people, myself included, are the hardest working lazy people you'll meet. We just want to get the difficult task or circumstance over with as quickly as possible so we throw ourselves at it like a Tasmanian devil. I am usually told by people I work with to "chill out. You work too hard". Instead of just carrying a couple bags of groceries from the car, I'll grab every single one and struggle some because I don't want to make two trips. The problem is that this is the equivalent of lifting lots of weight and low reps to get bulging biceps. Instead of building cardiovascular endurance, I've built strength and get tired quickly both physical and mentally. 

The stuff in life that hurts us, stresses us, angers us are just growing pains. Many times things seem to get harder the more you grow and mature but really it's just adding a little more weight once you have built up endurance where you could do those reps into infinity. Each obstacle that has been thrown at me inciting a freak out has turned out to be something I can handle (though it's hard work). All that is required is to "just keep swimming". Life isn't a race, its a tiny portion of an endless journey. What are your values? Find a way to alter your life to make it so.  Otherwise it's not a value, it's just an idea you are too lazy or apathetic to grab and make your own. 

*an important note: part of growing requires learning what weight is your responsibility to carry. So many of our problems are cause because we carry weight that isn't ours or shirk weight that is.*

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