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Growing Old and Growing Up

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Emotional Health related image Photo: Getty Images

It's a myth to think we stop growing up. For some reason our cultural phobia of aging has made it seem as though looking forward to the future, to growing up, is the sole domain of children and teens and that once you hit your true stride, adulthood and middle age, with too many responsibilities and debt, your growing up dreams are over.
But it's not true. It has been renamed as middle aged people muse on their retirement, what they'll do when they finally have enough years at the factory to go to Hawaii or live on a boat. But secretly, sometimes without letting anyone know, adults and middle aged people are still excited about growing older, growing up even more. They want the joys of mastery, of feeling they've learned how to do something really, really well. They want autonomy, the freedom to live in the way they choose. They want respect from their friends, family, and community, a sense that they've earned the right to be alive and to give advice, that they've begun to really know what it is they are talking about. These are the very same things children dream of when they think of getting to the age of their big brother or babysitter and exactly what teens dream of when they get their driver's license and their first job.

Our dreams are constantly brewing, bubbling and boiling over. We dream of winning the lottery but it's a decoy dream; the real dream is to have the financial freedom to be able to grow in an uninhibited way; to learn to play the cello, to travel, to refine our pottery making skills, to learn Japanese. As human beings we are always striving for mastery. We want to have control over our lives, our families, our finances, our destinies. This is the meat and potatoes of growing up; defining and redefining ourselves, improving our skills, giving more than we ever have to the community at large, becoming real and meaningful to ourselves and others, enriching and contributing to others.
Expand these growing up dreams so that your every day life may incorporate some of them. Perhaps a new course in school or going for a promotion you never thought you'd want or deserved could be in the offing.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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