Photo Credit: duchessa, www.sxc.hu

When I was still a child, I frequently envisioned myself to be at the age of 18 and up, in my mind, I molded my future-me to be something cool, have a good job, have a girlfriend planning to marry, already building a home for my future family, being a total success whatever that means to a child, and being in the fuzzy state I always heard – matured.

I assumed that as the time passes, my thinking and sense of responsibility would automatically developed like what happens to my body. Since I’m relishing my teenage years, I intentionally sidelined the maturity concept believing that it would automatically grow like a tree in me. Fun and comfort are prime in my loose priorities. And a 17 years old knows everything, right?

I indulged in chaotic foolishness but lucky enough not to engage in crime or drugs. I’m a mess and don’t want anything to do with correction and sermons with law or scriptures. I am me and don’t try to lecture me about how to be me because I’ll backfire with loud criticisms of your imperfections. Until I heard someone I respect said to me with pointed conviction, “You.are.immature!”

I’m stunned. Me? Immature? How is that? It can’t be. I’m supposed to be mature at my age and be respected for it. Who’s the betrayer? Who didn’t participate? I lashed until I found the person responsible for my mess.

Me

Sad realization. My growth was stagnant in my thinking, morals, and responsibility for all those years. At age 17, I’m still acting as a 13 years old muttering that the world owe me happy drugs. I found that I’m a walking dupe addicted to second-grade entertainment to fill my boring time. I looked at the mirror and didn’t want the man in front of me because he’s just a child in a near-adult body.

Growth is not automatic. I need to participate on it and have a plan and follow through like an adult driven by sturdy principles not like a child driven by wavy feelings.

I did what I know to do. I listened to adults with two ears opened and tried to extract the disciplines they want for me to have. I began picking and reading books on topics that adults must be adept with. I became crazy about personal growth that I eliminated my other activities like watching TV, playing too much video games, collecting Gundam units, and yes, even the I’ll-die-if-you-don’t-love-me-back way of courting in hope to be the Mr. Right for the right woman and be a man of value before building my own family.

I wish to declare that I’m fully matured now. But I’m not, yet. One of my friend says that I’m weirdly advanced in some category of thinking but an utter child in many others. I can’t reject the criticism because I know it’s true, I need to do something about it. I believe that the process of maturing is an endless journey in this life. If you don’t embrace its nature, then you’re forsaking one of your life-giving right as a human.

What struck me is I’m meeting people in their thirties, forties and even fifties who are really twenty (or horror - teenage) year old souls in their old body. They are matured biologically, but some of them are spiritually, relationally, and emotionally childish. What happened? They missed their wake-up moment? Or are they succumbed in the pride of being old in age, rejecting the advice of some younger or “lesser” humans? Why not all of us are aware of our great void of principles and disciplines we need to learn for us to be effective in life?

When I asked them if they are reading books, blogs or attending seminars, they would respond to me as if I’m the weirdest man in the world. They don’t want someone to teach them about life, smugly believing that they know everything about it. Even with their overdose pride, they are miserable because truth is, not taking responsibly for your own growth and life is a thunderous river of misery.

People who don’t take responsibility for their own growth tend to be complainers and terrorists of the spirits of young children and ambitious people. “You can’t” “It won’t” “Are you nuts?” “Who are you? Albert Einstein?”

Busted people walking - love them and do your best to wake them up, but never follow their poor habits. Better to smile at your death bed knowing you’re awaken and did your best in life, and not wail all your regrets that will haunt you until your last breath. Wield your power to change now and grow for your God, your family and your society.

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