“If You Haven’t Grown Up By Age 50 You Don’t Have To.”
By: Robert A. Bianchi, Esq.:
This seemingly funny statement tells a great truth about life.
As children, we were innocent and lived in the present moment. We were undaunted by thoughts about what other people thought of us, our reputations, and did not have regrets over the past and/or fears about the future. We simply woke up each day and lived our lives to the fullest- – good or bad, happy or sad. We didn’t take life too seriously.
This is a good way to live throughout our lives, yet so many people understandably allow their joy to be robbed from them as they age and acquire worldly conquests, and then desperately try to hold onto these vanishing “achievements” that the “world” deceptively tells them defines who they are as people.
In our lives, we move through varied stages of expansion, maintenance, and then retraction/loss. Eventually, what we worked for will be taken away along the journey. That is a simple fact of life. To many, retraction is a very painful and bitter pill to swallow.
An awakened person understands this “cycle of life” and does not fight it. Awakened people have a tremendous Spirit that interprets the inevitable phases of retraction as a simple message that there is another place for expansion. They don’t resist life’s call to action for new growth in the face of supposed “loss.” To them, there is never really loss, only expansion into another dimension of life. They are resilient adventures- – navigating the currents of the vast and mysterious oceans of their lives with acceptance and intrigue about the next destination.
We all know that we live in a broken world. So, the innocence of childhood easily becomes calloused as we strive to become educated, compete for jobs, promotions, success, and recognition. It is here that our dangerous egos become fed on a constant diet of making distinctions, blaming, comparing, separateness, and giving away our power to others’ views of who we are, or who we should be.
It is in this inauthentic period of striving that many of our joys in life are robbed from us- -little by little- – as we scurry to achieve “the finer things in life.” Now, success in this regard has some merit for sure, but only in moderation- -another word people despise. The only question is to what extent we will let our younger appetites continue to control and frustrate our capacity for joy as we age.
It takes introspection and courage to evaluate our lives in this way. But if you do, the dividends are amazing!
To me, the mid-life crisis is really a mid-life awakening. It is an opportunity to expand beyond the loss of things we confusingly valued so much, to things that are more important and eternal- – things that can never be taken from us at any stage of our lives unless we willingly give them away to lesser idols. Our loss of things we cherished as younger people can be replaced by something that youth does not yet know very well- – peace, understanding, and the greatest of all virtues, love (willing the good of others) and wisdom.
So, if you have not grown up by age 50 good for you. It means you maintained your innocence, joy, laughter, and embraced your vulnerability along the way. And, if you need to “grow down” why not start at this very moment?
The great Brother David Steindl-Rast states that we should all live each day as “if it were your first day, and your last day.” If we live this way, we will be able to slow down the frenetic pace and enjoy the beauty of what is right before us every day with intrigue, curiosity, and exhilaration- -much like a child.
Living the day like the last day of your life allows us to easily reconcile our hurts and move beyond the scars that the ruminating ego manufactured along the way. Living life like it is our last day allows for a purging of the toxins to the soul that we accumulated along the path of our younger lives.
If you have not taken the time to think about your life in this way, even if it is your last day, know that your present moment is where eternity resides as the present moment has no real beginning or end.
It is never too late to be grateful for what you have, even if you are about to take your last breath. The present moment is the playing field where the opportunity to reinvent yourself is scored, unencumbered by regrets of yesterday, or fears of tomorrow. It is the place where full joy resides.
So, when you inevitably” lose” some things along the way always know there is a greater gain waiting for you- – if only you are willing to let it in.
To new beginnings!
Peace to you.