Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
Personal Growth is sometimes a difficult thing to achieve. Often, I think I find myself in a place where I have stopped growing, where I am just stuck! But I am finding more and more that feeling stuck is an illusion. Often it appears that we have come to a stand still in our lives but instead, we are growing slowly, inching towards our new selves, towards the future. The funny thing about personal growth is that sometimes when we feel as if we are on top of the world, that we have achieved our goals and are in a good place, we do not want to grow anymore. But as the poet Andrew Marvell writes in the poem “To His Coy Mistress” ” [b]ut at my back I always hear/Time’s winged chariots hurrying near” (21-22). Time is always changing and moving ahead despite our best wishes to keep things as they are; we do not have time enough to wait.
Case in point, my fourth year of university was one of the best years of my life. I was getting a 3.7 average, I had made some of the best friends of my life, my skin was nice, I was the perfect weight. My nights I spent partying and drinking with my friends, my days I spent writing english paper’s which were at this point in my university career not so difficult, I worked the perfect number of hours (15 -17 hours)at the university bookstore where I worked with all my friends and because of my job I could afford to drink and buy some of the clothes I wanted. Plus, and maybe most of all, I had a bright future ahead. I graduated with distinction and had a big fun grad party and dinner. I was at that time, at the top of my world. But time never stays still and although my university career had blossomed into that awesome fourth ( which continued into half a fifth year) year, it was time for me to grow again.
After year five and half of years of university it was time to get a job. And I did get a job through temping eventually at an excellent company as a receptionist. I even moved up into the position of construction administrative assistant and had been told I had a future as at least an assistant project manager. Things looked hopeful, I was growing, learning my way in the business world. Making contacts, building a career, doing everything I thought that my training in school had brought me to be – an actual grown up. But then out of nowhere I got sick. And funny enough although I grew and changed through those good times in university and that first year at work, it is when I was sickest that I really began to grow.
In my blog on avoiding boredom, I mentioned a lot about that time I had an episode. How I had to fight to keep a routein to give myself something to look forward to. But what I did not say was how hard it was to be stuck at home unable to drive (my reaction times were slow and I did not have the energy to drive). When my friends were out drinking and doing all these night activities I could not do them with them because I was too tired after 9 pm; I was stuck at home. I missed meeting a lot of people and seeing a lot of friends. Even taking the bus tired me out, and often still does . I gained weight from the medication, my head was hazy, my body not my own – it moved slowly and ached incessantly at my neck and shoulders. Now like I said in that article, I am gaining back my energy and gaining back my life. I am going to classes, meeting up with friends and different times again, exercising as much as I can. But that growing process from poor health to my current health status was one of the hardest times of my life.
I know times will get harder, that I am young and that their will be other tough times but this was the first time I had every had to deal with anything of this magnitude. When I was at my lowest I grew the most. I felt a strong call back to God, to Jesus and religion. I also felt a strong bond develop again between my parents and I. My parent’s were with me through the whole ordeal and never left my side. I began to connect with other family like my grandma, godparents’ and friends I had been too busy to see before. I developed deeper and stronger bonds with my university friends that were not just based around drinking and partying but around other common interests and good times. Sometimes I said goodbye to certain friend’s in certain ways because we could never be the friends we once were. I grew and I grew.
I continue to grow and I realize that this is a process that will never stop. As Marvell complained to his mistress, time, time, is “always near” (22-23). But he did have some good advice as to this problem. Marvell said to his mistress:
Let us roll all our strength, and allOur sweetness, up into one ball;And tear our pleasures with rough strifeThorough the iron gates of life.Thus, though we cannot make our sunStand still, yet we will make him run. (41-46)