courage in adulthood

One thing I’m realizing about growing up is the need to live with courage.

When we are kids, it’s easier to dream big dreams, feel imaginative and inspired, and continue pushing ourselves outside our comfort zones to grow. We feel like we have so much time to make changes and live out so many adventures. The sky is the limit!

Then you grow up and you realize that we are tied up in several life obligations that eat away at our time and energy to follow through with some of those dreams. These obligations can even slowly erase our ability to be imaginative and excited, making us capable of thinking only about the next thing we need to cross off our to-do lists.

That’s not it. When we are younger we can have this naive optimism that propels us to take chances. But when we get older we know what happens when we fall down. We become well-acquainted with the pain of failures, heartbreaks of different sorts, disappointments, rejections, losses, things just not working out, limitations in life and in ourselves, and obligations and responsibilities that tie us down.

Holding onto optimism becomes harder as realism starts to take the place of the naive but magical, sparkling visions of inspiration and adventure. I’m realizing that as we grow up, we must be brave enough to dream again. We have to be brave enough to be optimistic again even though we already know what it would feel like if things don’t work out. Instead of naive optimism, we have to deliberately make the choice to become an optimist who is aware of reality.

Dreaming as you’re growing up can feel more challenging sometimes, but it’s good to remember that in some ways an adult has much more freedom to impact change in their lives compared to a child. We have to be brave enough to try again and be willing to get hurt again in the process just for the chance of having our dreams come true, or getting to experience something interesting and beautiful.

I believe that is one of the meanings of growing up. Choosing courage after pain.


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