Give Yourself Time To Grow

I’ve recently started living on avocados.

It’s part of my healthy eating plan and despite the price, I do relish a ripe avo that satiates my appetite. I just hate waiting for them to ripen. I never know what to do with a half ripe avo once I’ve cut it open.

Do I put it back together and place it in the fridge and hope for the best? Do I throw it in the bin and cringe at the money wasted? It’s often difficult to gauge by the level of softness of the skin when it is fully ripe.

I know you’re waiting for this avo monologue to turn into a meaningful metaphor, so here it is: how do you know when you’ve achieved a level of growth that has ‘ripened’ you for the next season in your life?

One of the definitions of the word ripe, means to ‘have arrived at the fitting stage or time for a particular action or purpose’. As you read this, you may be facing the prospect of taking on a new project, or bracing yourself for the start of a new job. Maybe you’re contemplating the start of a new relationship or friendship and you’re not sure of you’re ready for that commitment.

When it comes to new challenges or opportunities, we often vacillate across the range of preparedness: ‘I’m-so-not-ready-yet’, ‘yes- let’s-do-this’, ‘why-hasn’t-this-happened-yet’?

So, how do you know when you are ready to take on something new?

In my experience – and from my collected observations – there are three stages of readiness in life:

  1. Things that you need to say yes to in order to grow:
    • Learning how to drive, or enrolling for your university degree, are brief yet crucial stages  to development.
  2. Things that only materialize when you’ve reached a certain level of growth:
    • That job that has specific entry level requirements, or a career opportunity that is offered to you that you weren’t looking for, because your good work has had ripple positive effects.
  3. Things that you don’t feel not quite ready for but the decision to say yes to it will help you grow into it:
    • Committing to a relationship with the person you know is good for you or realising that you’re going to be a parent and responsibility is going to take on a whole new level.

Rarely do we feel 100% ready and excited to take on something new.

The day that your hand clutches that hard earned degree is just the beginning of a series of growth stages in your life. It might mean that you are ready to enter the world of work – but it also means that you are beginning a new series of cycles and seasons.

Life is a journey, not a series of events that we can neatly summarise on our cv.

Growth takes time. Change is a continual cycle that leads to slow, incremental growth that eventually results in a fruitful life.

Work week reflection question: What aspect of growth are you currently impatient about and how can you give yourself the time and space you need for things to take root?



Dying To Be Reborn

I am an idealist.

I see in pictures. My life is full of metaphors and meanings – often resulting in the tell-tale eye glazing reaction of the person I am trying to channel all this passionate towards. Which is why I love writing. The white space just absorbs all the feeling and fear and clarity and confusion and I feel a sense of peace and tranquility at having expressed my creative energy.

What that essentially means is that I too often get hung up on ideas. I could brainstorm the iron off a tea kettle and then some. Trouble is – reality doesn’t often (read: hardly ever) – line up to reality. And that is the sum total of my ‘emotional’ disasters.

The most painful experiences in my life have centered on the death of a cherished idea.

Granted, they were disguised in all sorts of experiences: facing the end of a friendship, having to accept when  the idea of a relationship was greater than the actual reality and even just being faced with the same situation time and time again and feeling the maddening frustration that things are not changing.

I am not the same person I was a decade ago (thank God for that!). And as I have learnt important life lessons over the years, the push for growth necessitated that I leave certain places, things and people. Knowing full well that my cherished idea (of the relationship, place or thing) was dying a ghastly death, I held on for dear life, not wanting to part with this-is-the-truth-I-know feeling of certainty for the now-what-the-heck-am-I-supposed-to-believe confusion.

But there you have it.

As much as I have fought – to the death – time and time again against the loss of my cherished ideas, I have had to surrender to the thing that would not live under my choking control. And it’s a humiliatingly humbling process to have to endure – over and over again as the cycles and seasons churn and change beyond the horizon of our understanding.

Still, as I revisit the gravesite of my soul – reflecting on the times and situations that I thought would be the death of me – I am surprised to discover that they have actually transformed into signposts marking my moments of poignant growth and transformation. I see now that the level of my growth has been determined by the extent of my willingness to let old things die and allow new things to be born.

I am finally learning one of the greatest lessons: in our lifetime, we die a million deaths. Only to be reborn each time.