When You Grow Up
There is an idea, an obsession really, that has dominated my thoughts for little over two years now.
A lot of who I am and who I will be is yet to be determined, laid out before me like a generally blank canvas.
This period of life is a crucial life-determining, path-carving journey. On it I can choose to be selfish or altruistic, brave of fearful, kind or indifferent, but with each decision a habit will be closer to being formed. Like a path that takes only 7 passes of a traveler to be worn into a wild terrain, so it requires less decisions to form character and habit than I once thought.
I have laughed when I have heard adults 20 or 30 years older than me say, “I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up.” I thought they must be joking since they are already grown up, right? But since, I have realized that this is the goal really, to never quite grow up. To always be wondering who you might be when you grow up, to be always striving towards bravery to follow your dreams, always exercising discipline to choose to be who you truly hope to be someday, always working to pursue the important over the urgent.
I have to wonder if my 9 year old self would want to kick my teeth in on the playground or if I am the kind of man that I would have admired when I was younger.
To not sell out on your dreams, but to have the courage to also lay aside lesser dreams for bigger ones as they arrive.
To be content and not miss life as it happens, but also to choose hope over cynicism.
To maintain awe and wonder.
To not be passive.
To live simply and generously.
To never (quite) grow up.
This requires discipline, this requires actively choosing the values that will maintain these things, and actively rejecting the things that oppose them, or even the things that might oppose them. With every decision there is a trade-off, and with every trade-off a priority is chosen.
It is so easy to choose things that are not a priority. It is so easy to choose the — well, the easy path. For this reason, we must remember that who we are and who we will be is still to be determined, and so, you must live with vigilance, with determination and with bravery, determinedly choosing who you will be when you grow up.
We must choose to form our habits, and in so doing we choose the habits we are formed by.