Growing Up: An Unending Journey

I remember when I was about to turn nineteen. I was sitting on campus at the university I was attending, and feeling overwhelmingly old, and like I had achieved so little. I made a list of all the things I had not yet done: write a book (I thought for sure I’d had done that by 19), gone off-continent, and so much more. I had a page full of things—not ones that I was looking forward to in my mind, but things I was seeing as a failure to have not yet completed.

It was a sinking feeling, for sure. But I grew through it.

By the next birthday I had been abroad. Little did I know it would take years to get that first book out, though.

I remember when I got married—for the first time. I was 25, and my fiancé and I were already pregnant with our first child. I felt so mature. So solid.

Then the baby was born. And all of a sudden I felt like a little kid, wearing a big person’s clothes. But I held it together, learned how to deal with the almost stultifying love a mother feels for her child, and grew a little. I was a mom. I MUST be a grown up now.

Life went on. I had a second child, and began the process of raising two lovely girls. I moved into my fifth year of marriage. I built a writing career.

Finally, I wrote my first book. The process of writing it was exhilarating and very intense. Kind of like pregnancy, but all crammed into three months! Then my book was born… er, published. And again, I felt like a kid just learning how to walk. And then I grew into being the author I always knew I’d be. Wow. My largest milestone, the dream pinnacle, and I had reached it! Another wave of “grown-up-ness” washed over me.

After touring with my book, building a speaking career, and gaining some very minor fame (or at least notoriety), and after many other factors, my marriage dissolved.

When I was getting divorced, I REALLY felt like I had entered the grown-ups club.

Though I have a past history of marking the weeks leading up to each birthday with a period of self-recriminating depression for tasks uncompleted, I spent my thirty-sixth birthday looking over the Sea of Galilee with the sun rising over Golan Heights. It cured me. Birthdays have an ease of moving towards the unexpected, and smelling the flowers that appear on the side of the path.

Last summer, my father was diagnosed with liver cancer. After many years of illness it shouldn’t have been a surprise to me, but it was. “Wow,” I thought, “my dad is dying. I’ve never felt so much of a grown-up in my life.” Facing the death of a parent can do that, I guess. He recovered, and is in remission awaiting a donor liver.

In the midst of his illness, I had a realization. I was never going to stop “growing up.” At least not until I die. Growing up is a process that continues. We are never fully grown. And thank goodness for that!

I have no idea where that checklist from when I was nineteen is, and although it might be interesting to see if I’ve climbed all the mountains I thought I would, I’m done with lifetime checklists. I take it day-by-day, week-by-week, year-by-year. Now remarried, I’ve found my partner in life. My children are amazing. I write what, when, and where I can. The words come easily these days. I travel when my life affords it.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have goals. Embracing forty, I’m opening my arms to new experiences, learning to trust, finding what “fitness” really means, growing gracefully into the power that another decade brings. And another. And another.

I face the coming days with attainable goals, a gentle and forgiving regard for myself and others, and a dedication to continued growth. And I’ve come to deeply respect the places where growing older has left its marks.

Lasara Firefox Allen, MPNLP, is a best-selling author, educator, activist, and coach. Wife to her True Love, and mother to two amazing young women, Lasara believes in living the life you want to create. Lasara is available for coaching and spiritual guidance.

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2 thoughts on “Growing Up: An Unending Journey

  1. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    What a beautiful, heartfelt article !!!!!!

    I really resonated with this article……and I agree, we are never quite done growing and learning……

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500

    Reply

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