Growing up

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


I FIND that as I grow older, life gets simpler. You know what you want. So you go for it. You know what you don’t want. So you drop it.

Certainly, life doesn’t get easier. But with age, you get a better grip of your priorities in life—the battles you want to fight, the causes you want to support, the people who truly matter in your life.

And the rest is really just insignificant and immaterial—so you can’t let them get to you.

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Knowing the difference between the inconsequential and the essential is an art—an art that one slowly masters after surviving a number of years on this Earth. In time, you learn to conserve your energy and your emotions for the events, issues and relationships important in your life.

I used to think that resilience resided in the armory of the young. After all, when you’re young, you have your whole life ahead of you. While you cannot undo, you can redo all you want. You have all the time in the world. You have youth on your side.

The not-so-young, on the other, do not have the luxury of time. You can only redo your life so many times. Or so I thought. But l was wrong. It’s not really about the number of years you think you have left on Earth.
It’s not about time; it’s about perspective.

The young are so easily crushed and broken not necessarily because they are weak but because they mistakenly believe that one heartbreak will define their entire life. They don’t realize that this heartbreak will just be one of the many down the road.

The not-so-young, on the other hand, take things in stride. It is not that they feel less pain. Or no longer feel any pain. It is that they feel the familiar pangs of pain and know from experience, that one day, this too will pass.

No obstacle because insurmountable. No heartbreak becomes unbearable. Nothing becomes hopeless. You know. Because you’ve been there when you thought all was lost and gone and yet, you were wrong. There was so much more waiting for you on the other end.

You have learned the art of re-invention.

It is not so much about lowering the bar as it is about tempering one’s expectations. It is knowing that while perfection remains the goal, not achieving it will not kill you or destroy you. It is knowing that every heartbreak, failure and disappointment will only make you stronger, braver and better equipped to survive any battle in life.

Pain can enfeeble but it can also empower.

It is possible to love again. It is possible to smile again. It is possible to celebrate life again. Tragedy will always be there. But while tragedy visits, it doesn’t stay forever. Nothing does. Everything in this world is temporal.

It is not possible to be happy 24/7. But it is possible to live happily despite what happens after.

Know that in time, your pain will pass and your heart will heal. This is a bump in the road. There will be many more up ahead. But you will eventually learn to expertly navigate through all the bumps in life.
Stay strong. And don’t give up. While it is not easy, at some point in our lives, we all need to grow up.

***

(email: sunstarcebucolumnist@yahoo.com, twitter: http://twitter.com/melanietlim)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 10, 2014.

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