When we’re kids, all we want to do is grow up. We love playing pretend, dressing up and dreaming big. There’s nothing that limits our dreams – in fact, we’re encouraged to play and use our imaginations. When we’re teenagers, growing up is all about trying new things and taking risks, without feeling the responsibility of the potential consequences. It’s kind of like watching a scary movie or riding a roller coaster – you get the adrenaline and adventure without the possibility of something bad actually happening to you. It’s excitement within the perimeters of safety and security.
Fast forward to now, when growing up no longer feels like a faraway land of rainbows and butterflies, but rather an imposition. One day, we feel safe, taken care, and then BOOM – it happens. We’ve grown up.
For me, the phrase “growing up” always scared me – it actually still scares me as I write this. For me, growing up means responsibility. It means commitment. It means feeling overwhelmed. I no longer see growing up as desirable, but rather as something I have to do, whether I like it or not. And for many people, growing up feels this way because they have found themselves at jobs they hate or because they feel directionless and lost when it comes to their career.
If you separate the words “growing up” and look at them by themselves, they lose some power. The definition of “growing” is to develop and progress, and the definition of “up” is directed towards a higher position. So really, growing up means just that – progressing and moving towards somewhere higher than where you stand today.
When you think about it that way, as growing AND up as opposed to growing up, it suddenly becomes a bit more inviting and not as scary. Suddenly it loses its edge.
So maybe we can actually like growing up if we start seeing it with different eyes. You don’t have to hate your job and you can figure out what you really want to be doing with your life. It might feel like a dim hope and a distant possibility right now, but I promise you, you can spend the rest of your life in love with what you’re doing. You can have your dream career. But it starts with shifting your perspective. It starts with being okay with these two words. Starting today, just focus on the growing and the up – because that’s really all that it is. Growing and up.
# # #
Jordana Jaffe, founder of Quarter Life Clarity, works with women in their 20’s and 30’s who don’t like their jobs or are unsure about the next steps to take in their professional lives. She helps you clarify your career goals, create a plan to achieve them, and makes sure, through support, accountability, and motivation, that you see your goals through to reality. Check out her facebook and twitter page!