Have you grown up with elder siblings or around elder cousins? You’ll probably understand this better. When we were little, we all thought they’re life was pretty cool. All they ever did was wake up, leave home, come back late in the night and sleep back again. It’s looked so effortless and easy. We had school, homework, mom not allowing us to play and always getting yelled at for watching cartoons. But they, nobody even spoke to them. The only time they were available was Sunday. We wanted to be available on Sundays only, away from all the family drama. We wanted to grow up, be able to wake up and leave the house, and come back late in the night to sleep again. And our wishes did come true. Only, they weren’t a blessing.
Somewhere between watching cartoons all day to not having time for television at all, we grew up. We became our elder cousins and siblings, and as time went by we realized that being them is no cakewalk. What we thought then was the version of them we saw. We just saw them leaving the house early and coming back home late. Little did we know about what they had to do between that. They grew up, and now we have, and now we know what is really is.
Till the time you’re a child, you’re surrounded by people who care for you. Not that after growing up they’re not around, but they are not around always. As a child, when you came home running after being hit by a ball in the head, mom was always ready to rub ice on your face. You’re still getting hit by balls, that too on daily basis. In the form of hatred, betrayal, rejection, under-appreciation, you’re still getting hurt every time you try to do something or trust someone, but this time, mom is not around to comfort you. That’s growing up. To be handling your own problems, facing your own fears, owning your mistakes and moving on, without a hand to comfort you, that’s growing up.
“I want that, dad!” – this was you all the time you went shopping with your parents. Didn’t it feel good to be able to get something within seconds of possessing the desire to have it? It did feel good. Dad was always there. Sure there were days when he would say no for getting you something you wanted, because you didn’t need it. But you cried and cried, begging your parents to get you this one thing that you don’t even remember now, and promised this was the last thing you would ask of them. You got it, they gave it to you. And it wasn’t the last thing you asked of them, you asked for more, they bought it for you. But now, you’re a grown up. Nobody is paying for you anymore. You have to get what you want, all by yourself. You may have the desire and the willingness to buy, but you cannot afford it. It’s a luxury, and you only have money for necessities. That’s growing up. Being able to distinguish between what you desire and what you need, and making the correct decision, not by choice, but by circumstances, that’s growing up.
Remember when you got your first bike? It was the most important gift in your life. Not only were you getting a new material, but you would be learning something new. It was learning to ride a bike. You were scared, you knew if you fall, you’d get cuts and bruises that wouldn’t last, but would hurt for some days. So you didn’t want to ride the bike. You just let it stay in the backyard until one day, your parents offered to teach you. They said they knew how to ride one, and you trusted their words. One fine day, you get your bike out and your father is holding it from behind. You pedal it once, you move forward. Your legs are still down because you don’t want to fall. One pedal after another, you slowly start lifting your legs up because you know dad won’t let you fall. He’s behind, he’s holding it tight, you can trust him with your life. You start riding it, and in no time it speeds up. You learned how to ride a bike. But now, you’ve grown up. No matter how hard and crucial your decisions are, how life changing and challenging they can be you’re own your own. You can consult people, but it’s only you who’s going to ride this bike, all alone. Nobody’s going to hold it from behind, you have to pedal it yourself and give it direction. That’s growing up.
Growing up is not easy. Being able to sustain yourself earn your own living, starting your own family, all that looks easy but it’s not. And the worst part is, nobody is an expert at growing up. Everyone screwed at some point of time, learned from their mistakes and did the most important thing – moving forward. That is the only key to every problem. And while we all wish we were still kids watching a little cartoon in the middle of the day, that is one wish that will never come true.
It may not be easy, but it’s not that difficult too. You know whose life becomes stagnant? Nobody’s. It’s a part of the process and we should all be ready to embrace it as it comes. You always have people around you to talk to, to cheer you up, to make you happy. They may not be experts, but they’ve been there. They’ve been at that stage you are right now. Ask them what they did and how they did it. Learn from their mistakes too. That’s a part of life. Embrace it as it comes, because life is not less than a bike ride.