When we are little we are not afraid.
We fall and cry.
We fall and laugh.
Everything we take in is new and amazing.
Limbs, fruit, television, people, touch, toys, movement, standing, walking, falling, crying, getting up, falling, laughing, getting up again. It's all new and has no consequence.
As a parent, we are renewed in the newness of it all and it is all-precious. As a child, we are simply growing. Like a root through soil, finding its place and space where it is.
When we are kids, beginning to socialize in school and with those outside of our family, we begin to become protective. We don't run around naked so much in front of strangers. We curb our actions and thoughts into actions. And, we are growing while this is happening. Like a flower from a branch, reaching and expanding, understanding its place and space where it is.
As teenagers, protection is necessary as we grow into bodies that seem more adult than when we knew when we were little. Maybe our minds are still childlike. Maybe our peers make our minds want to be more like adults. We are growing while this is happening. We have bloomed and begin to understand place and space where we are in relation to others.
Chemicals, bones, skin.
It is all stretching, strengthening and flowing within our bodies.
It can be alarming, exciting, scary and emotions can be rampant in all of the years that we live because they are all new territory to be explored, with every fall, every inch of growth, every moment we become aware of the world around us.
We hide, we expose. We're scared and we are free. Life is all ahead of us. Life is.
Thankfully, for most, we have our parents or teachers to help us on this insane journey as we grow into real life human beings interacting in the world.
As adults, parents, single people, we are on our own.
I still talk to my mom every day but I'm still on my own, 3000 miles away from her. Even when I was living in New York City, I was still on my own even though she was physically closer.
The thing is is that even when we are done physically growing - we are at our height, regular or fluctuating weight, yearly changing age, we are never done 'growing'.
However, we leave the growing to the kids.
There are heavier, more tangible transitions for kids. We see it in their pictures and their clothes. Expanding their space and size.
As an adult, we are expected to be, as is, in the space we inhabit. We manage and there are no rulebooks or classes for that. If there are they are considered hokey, new age, self-help and wacko. And maybe Oprah is there, but even that feels weird to rely on as guidance as we navigate adulthood. Ok, sometimes Oprah is just the breath of fresh air you need to get through the day. That and a glass of wine.
But our minds, our minds are always growing. Not in physical space, but mental, emotional and energetic space.
I realize that as I accrue birthdays and fine lines, that I am still not done growing.
The things that I wanted when I was a child, a teenager, a young adult, are still there. But, they have shifted.
Life experience does that to you.
Dreams never die, unless you put them to sleep.
But, daily motivation, drive, passion, struggle, suffering, achievement, failure, days and months and years add to one's perspective, reality, response from the world and ultimately your response to all of the above in how you want to take your life in each and every next step.
I recently spent some time with some of my single girlfriends who shared with me mostly horror stories of their Internet dating experiences. Both of these women, beautiful, strong and successful, were single by choice. They did not want to settle to just have a husband and family. But they long for that.
I recently spent some time on the phone with some of my married girlfriends from high school. Two of them had married very young and have at least three children. They both seem very happy and tired, but absolutely satisfied with their choice even though the thought of my life as a single girl in glamorous Los Angeles seemed to be the topic they kept swaying back too.
I recently spent some time with myself. The single, glamorous girl in Los Angeles still pursuing her dream as an artist. I'm alone. I'm living the dream and still holding out for a love that may or may not be ideal. A love AND lifestyle that may or may not result in family or home. The girl who lives to practice yoga and go out to the beach and make up new work outs to share with others and help them feel fulfilled and satisfied in their lives.
I looked at my life.
I looked at how I am needed by my friends and family and how I need my friends and family now more than ever.
As I transition into single life and a life with an ill parent, I am no different and I am the same. I am choosing to live the life on my own, with all of its success and sadness and growth. Being able to reach out and knowing I need to reach in to myself and find the things that I need now, not before, not later, but now.
I am choosing this and I am growing. And it is painful. And there is no tollhouse cookie or after-school special to reward me at the end of the day when I come home. Just me.
There are no bones and skin that are stretching, but my mind and my emotions and life is expanding in ways that I will be unsure of and sure of on some days and no days.
I looked at the life of my girlfriends, attached with husbands and families, settled, happy and unsettled. I looked at the life of my other girlfriends, unattached with no husbands or families and in some cases, no jobs and unsettled.
I realized, we are all no different.
We are all still growing and changing and learning from each other and our experiences, very different but equally challenging.
As adults, we have no parameters.
As children, we have school and our parents to set them for us.
As adults, we assume from what we see, what we should do.
Perhaps for some that is to get married and start a family. For others, that is to explore the world outside of marriage and family and look for something else.
I used to think my mom friends had it rougher than the single folk. That they were at a different, higher, stronger and tougher level. But I was wrong.
I find it amazing that I ever thought that my parents and teachers had the answer to everything.
We are all the same.
None of us have the answers but we surprise ourselves when we do, for ourselves and those that have the questions.
I see the success and the pain of others. I feel it most for myself. I see the comfort and longing of others. I see the same for myself. I see both sides.
And I see myself. My bones and skin have settled in their size but my mind, wants shift the way they did as a child. I still shift and question. I'm still uncomfortable and unsettled. But I still live like it's all still in front of me for the taking and giving.
I don't ever want to lose that.
I don't' ever want to lose the fact that my life has been designed for service.
To give as much as I can, only taking in what I know has been received.
It might be silly, but it's what I want.
I know for me, this time is rough, but I have to do it on my own, allowing myself the ability to nurture, nourish, replenish, grow, and bloom the way I need to settle into a life that I want.
Wherever you are in your life, childhood, adulthood, marriage, singleness, parenting, don't lose your love for life, playing, grow,