Yep you heard me growing up never felt so good.

Of course the younger me is screaming right now at the top of his lungs.   I can hear him telling me that I just admitted defeat.  Well if growing up is admitting defeat….then I admit defeat.

Here’s the thing (and there’s always a thing), I’m glad I’m growing up and if you’re in your early twenties or late teens and you couldn’t disagree more with me then read on.

I remember when I was 18 (wow I said that), I remember listening to Soco Amaratto Lime.  Heck, for nostalgia’s sake I threw it on while typing this post.  Ah yes this was the song I would sing to myself for many years.  I’d tell myself I’m going to stay 18 forever, I told myself that the girl I was in love with was the one I was destined to be with, and then I turned 19, and then 20, and then 21…..and now I’m 25.  Guess what? I’m not 18 anymore.  Brand New lied to me, I wasn’t going to stay 18 forever.  *Sigh*

I cherish my teenage years, and I cherish my early twenties.  I had the chance to travel Europe for three months, live in community with some great people, cut a record with my band and throw it on iTunes, played Cornerstone festival in Illinois, and had some of the best times yet of my life.  Truly the memories I have of those years I’m so grateful for.  I lived life with some of the most amazing people doing some of the most life fulfilling things.

As time goes on, you start to see the transition of adulthood encroaching on your life.  If my life was a book and I was standing in one of the pages, then I saw the page of adulthood turning and I couldn’t outrun it.  Truth be told I don’t know what I was running from, but I was running.  Who wants to grow up?  Who wants to work for some company slaving away with tons of bills to pay?  Who wants to go into debt or being upside down on your mortgage one day?  Who wants to be that big grown up that never let kids be kids? Who wants to be this boring no fun adult who forgets how to party?   Who says that’s what growing up is anyway?

Growing up can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.  For some people it does mean that career or for some others it might mean that mortgage, but who makes these rules that define what growing up is?

What I’m learning is that you can grow up into the future without leaving who you are behind.   Nothing has been more disheartening than to see people with big dreams never follow through because the American culture’s version of adulthood swooped in like a hawk honing in on its prey.  I’ve watching friends go to school for the sake of going to school, accumulating massive amounts of debt and then picking up a job at Starbucks because their degree really wasn’t what they felt created to do.  They just did it because people told them it’s time to grow up and get a real job, start a family, and work your way up the ladder.

For some people this works great.  That’s awesome.  Really, I know great people that have great careers doing what they love.  I had a friend go to school for 4 years in the Philippines to become a doctor and now he’s back in the states working on his licensing.  Every time we talk, health is bound to come up and it’s clear that he absolutely was created to help other people in the medical field.

But what about us? The others who don’t really know exactly how their calling will work in reality?  Culture isn’t built to handle dreamers, artists, people who are passionate about things that start in the form of a non-profit is it?  Culture is built to try and have security, peace of mind, and accumulate as much wealth as you can.

This is what I’ve been learning; that I can grow up, being confident in what I want to do, and not feel bad for not following a normal trajectory in life.

I used to think that growing up meant selling out, that it meant to give up who I was, and what I wanted in return for a career.  I thought it meant buying the house I couldn’t pay for, and taking what I believe to be created for and flushing it down the toilet.  But growing up I’m realizing, is maturing more into who you are created to be.  This is why I’ve been not just ok with growing up, I’ve been loving it.

To fight growing up (maturing) is to rob yourself of who you really are.  You sell yourself short because when you get into your mid twenties you start to realize that the things your parents taught you were genius, and you ultimately begin to understand that you really know nothing.  It’s humbling, yet confidence building all in one.  The best part though, is that you begin to develop the connections and resources to start making your passion a reality.  This is the time where I am combining my years of developing a talent, skill, passion, or project and I get to see it now begin to mature.

Yes growing up is great, don’t be afraid of it.  Instead, embrace it and go with it.  Let it polish you more and more into a more complete person.

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