As a child, I NAIVELY THOUGHT ADULTHOOD WAS A THING YOU REACHED AND THEN THAT WAS THAT – that’s who you were from then on.
I figured that adults continued to be the same throughout the rest of their lives, and they knew ‘all the things’ – and that, too, was just that.
Funny, right? I suppose it’s a bit like thinking humans are akin to a cake being baked throughout childhood and then ‘ding’ the timer goes off once adult-aged and, just like a cake – they’re done!
When I reached whatever age you would call being an adult, I thought, ok, this is just me, this is how I am.
I thought changes to how I (or any of us) acted, reacted, believed, and so on – would require great effort because, well, all the beliefs and much of the knowledge was already ‘baked in,’ wasn’t it? That’s why we went to school, lived with parents/guardians/families, learned life-skills? Then, once we set out on our own we were like that cake – we were supposed to be ready to be ‘presented to’ others and live our lives, right?
[Bear in mind that I didn’t consciously think about these things at the time. They were just beliefs somewhere inside my subconscious with which I operated. It’s only upon reflection – actually quite recently – that I’m identifying them.]
But of course there were continually things I discovered that I didn’t know or didn’t feel good at – from lacking confidence in interactions with people to how to identify and express my emotions clearly (arguably still works in progress to this day).
This belief of ‘completeness at adulthood’ sparked feelings of embarrassment at the things I thought I ‘should’ know already – largely because it seemed others had these things down pat. I often felt inadequate thanks to how much I was comparing myself to my observation of others.
Many years later I came to understand that we are always changing, always learning and growing. ‘Who we are’ is continually shifting, and WE ARE NOT EXACTLY THE SAME PERSON WHO:
~ travelled to [X location] at age 20,
~ started [Y job or activity] at age 40, or
~ retired from [Z career] at 65, or even
~ had that great coffee or tea yesterday at [whatever age].
What changes us, though? What causes the shifts? How do we continue to learn?
Whether it’s a…
~ seemingly innocuous interaction with a retail clerk or a coworker that offers us a little insight into someone else’s challenges, or
~ a close call on an icy road that reminds us of the importance of winter tires and driving more cautiously next time, or
~ the death of a loved one that shows us – up close – different people’s strengths and struggles and coping mechanisms under such stress, or
~ the losing of a job that reminds us that we are so much more than what we do to make money,
…everyday we are adding to our own personal guidebook to life via the information gathered through small and big observations and experiences we learn from.
These pieces of information we acquire are often so subtle that we don’t even notice them; but as time goes on, our subconscious continually tucks away all this input and uses it to inform our actions going forward.
So, we aren’t just like a cake that’s complete and unchangeable, are we?
We’re a little more like wine – the chemicals and components within the wine interacting over time, making it more and more valuable and delicious.
Or a great sauce – improved by letting it simmer for longer, allowing the ingredients to interact over time, and helping the overall flavour to settle.
Inviting you to be open to – and perhaps feel relief in – trusting that you are becoming all the better with time and age with all the bits and pieces of information that cross your path, most of which is being absorbed beneath your awareness. ❤
(Photo by Ronmar Lacamiento, pexels(dot)com)