Here is a toast to those dearest to us. To growing closer, growing older, growing together and growing up, and to never ever growing apart.
Growth is a funny thing when we look at it objectively. The beautiful thing about it is that it has an infinite spectrum of how much we are capable of growing and to what lengths we are able to push ourselves to reach heightened transformations of our older selves. We are changing and growing every day whether we are aware of it or not.
There are some parts of us that we don’t even realise have changed drastically, and it is until we reflect upon ourselves over a prolonged period of time that we find ourselves in awe of how much we have actually changed over the months and years. Growth is not always linear, nor is it always measureable in the ways we think are conventional. They can be formed day to day, a slow progress that requires copious amounts of patience, time, effort and consistent hard work. They can develop through the little changes we make in the small habits that form our characteristics and lifestyle. Above all, they are influenced by our conscious and subconscious decisions that lead to a direct and indirect impact on how we adapt and change. These decisions are influenced by how content we are with what we currently have and how willing we are to want to change for the better.
We make the most growth-spurring decisions usually based on events that change and impact us the most. These type of events usually act as catalysts or wake-up calls to us, alarm bells that start ringing shrill tones in our ears that warn us of when we need to take charge of our lives and begin re-evaluating what type of people we are at the very core of our beings. The most common life events that serve as these catalysts usually revolve around heartbreak, loss or death. And by highlighting this, it seems the common theme between the three of those are tragedy, or a realisation through crisis.
It is no doubt that strength comes from places of hardship which gives birth to many clichés – that the most painful and tragic things in life is the creation of many of the most beautiful things. Think of the eerie silence and calmness after a natural disaster that become the blueprints of a new creation. Think of the still echoes of nothing after the loss of a loved one and the fight to survive without them in the days of struggle thereafter. In a beautifully bittersweet irony, pain sets us free by breaking us in unimaginable ways for us to discover how we can grow into a person better than before and stronger than yesterday.
Throughout this long and arduous journey of self-discovery, it takes an immense amount of patience and understanding for the people around us to stand by through our stumbles and falls, through our inner conflicts of turmoil and confusion, through our thoughts that don’t align with our actions and through our words that we can’t even try to make sense of. It takes an immense amount of empathy and love for the people around us to coax us forward even when we can’t see the path ourselves, to illuminate the way before us even when all we want to do is to turn back to the places we came from. It takes an immense amount of determination to pull someone up from the ground when sometimes all we want to do is to dig and bury ourselves deeper into our own graves.
To all the people who were our eyes when we were finding our sight, who became our voices when we didn’t recognise our own, who sharpened our focus when our perception became distorted and who gave us love when we didn’t have any to give ourselves – this is the growth we owe to ourselves but could not have been made possible without the shoulders we had to cry on. This is the growth we owe to each and every one of you that was able to see what we were capable of but didn’t have the strength to rise up to take the challenge. This is the metamorphosis, made possible by the ones who will forever grow with us, but will never grow apart from us.