What Age Do We Grow Up?
Is age a limiting factor in your life?
Are there things outside of your reach because you’re too young? Or too old?
At what age do we actually grow up?
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Walking along the beach yesterday, I came upon a group of 20-somethings tossing a football. The football soared over the head of one of the young women and she jumped up to catch it. The tips of her fingers made contact-just enough to stop it from flying any farther. Looking amazing in her tiny bikini, she bent to pick up the ball and yelled back over her shoulder toward her friends, “It broke my fingernail!”
It was in that moment I thought, I guess there are times in life we’re just supposed to move on from. See, I’m not 20 anymore, far from it! I’m not playing football on the beach with friends. And to be honest it wasn’t an experience I ever had. It seemed in that moment that I’d missed out on a lot.
But as I walked on, I recalled just a few weeks back tossing the football with my 8-year old niece in the basement of my brother’s house. What am I thinking! I couldn’t toss a football at 20. I didn’t even know how, but I can now. In truth, I don’t want to deny myself any potential experience because of my age! How easy it can be for us to judge and consequently remove ourselves from the moment (as if we don’t belong).
In that same instant, the beach football flew past the young man closest to me and landed right at my feet. I reached down, picked it up and turned around to toss it back. The wind picked up, blowing my hair across my face and in the sunlight the young man’s smile gleamed, already thanking me. I have been thrust into the moment.
“No problem,” I say tossing the ball his way. As I turned to walk on again, it hit me: There’s no need to “move on” from any age. Because we’re not ordered that way. We’re all just points in space without real numbers assigned us, kind of like stars glowing from our individual places in the universe.
If it weren’t for calendars, years, dates and ages, we would just take the moments of our lives as they come, deciding what we will or won’t, can or can’t do based on our feelings in any given instant. We wouldn’t reach a certain point and then decide we’re grown, or middle-aged, or old, even.
We wouldn’t determine our potential for experiences based on age.
We wouldn’t have criteria with which to compare or condemn ourselves among others.
We probably wouldn’t allow ourselves to think, the best years of my life are over 🙁
I can attest
…there have been times in my life when I have thought this way, when I believed something important was missing from my experience in my twenties. And looking back now I can see that it’s true in some sense; there was something missing.
My life then was missing who I am now. It’s missing the choices I made and the opportunities I said no to as well. But I can only sense that now from where I stand with the experiences I’ve added to my life since twenty. Those experiences shaped who I am today, so it makes sense that looking back, my 20-year-old self lacked something important. She didn’t know then what I know now.
So what I realized is the girl who broke her fingernail is not in a better place than I am. She doesn’t have more chances or better options than me. She won’t necessarily get to experience things I didn’t. Her life won’t necessarily be more fulfilling or more interesting. She’ll probably also get to 40, or 50, see someone in their 20’s and wonder what she missed back then.
Our paths, the thread of our lives, is so narrow and although we often wish for more experience, more options, opportunities, a fuller life, we only get this one point in space to inhabit. We can only hold so much in each of our years. We can get caught up in our dissatisfaction, bemoaning our age or things we’ve lost, or we can smile, expand our consciousness, and from right where we are, glow!
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