Give Me a Break!

I am in constant awe of my daughter. At only 19 years of age she is accomplished at so much, has such a mature understanding of herself and of the World, is funny, creative and constantly looking to learn. She pushes herself to try things and perseveres with grit and passion until she achieves them. She stretches herself and is comfortable with being uncomfortable, knowing that therein lies growth. And not yet 20…

I, on the other hand, am different. It was my birthday recently. 52 years ago, a tiny being emerged into the World, knowing nothing, and unable to care for himself – many might say that little has changed.

I wish I was more like my daughter. I’ve always been someone who likes to keep control of as much as possible. This has been a trait that has served me both well and badly at different times. It serves me well in that it means I think carefully about things before I do them, so that I am able to plan for the different eventualities that might pan out. But it serves me poorly in that if I feel that I can’t keep control I often play it safe and shy away from that leap into the unknown that might have opened up new horizons.

On balance, this obsession with control has probably been one of my major failings in life. Who knows where I might be or what I might have become if I had taken the risk and jumped towards unknown possibility. Perhaps there is potential within me that has never been given the opportunity to come to the fore? I think that this is probably the case. This, then, is my weakness…

…or at least it has been so far.

I find it interesting to think about the fact that each of us starts out as a blank slate. We are not good or bad, we are not intelligent or unintelligent, mature or immature, independent or needy. We have potential to be any of those things depending on how our lives develop, the opportunities we have and the boundaries of our genetics.

From the day that we are born we are in a constant state of becoming – everything that we have done has led us to become who we are today and we continue to become who we will be tomorrow. There is nothing static about who we are – me two years ago and me now are different people in so many ways, and that is the same with everyone.

What is the point I am trying to make within this New Age stuff you may ask? Well, it is a reminder that none of us are ever a finished article. We are all works in progress. Some make great and rapid progress early in their lives, maturing quickly, learning prodigiously and achieving great things with ease. Others, however, move at a slower pace. Mozart may have performed in public for the first time at age five, but Paul Cézanne only earned his first one-man exhibition when he was 56.

I am one of these slower types I think. It has taken me many years to develop a sense of who I am and what I have to offer. Over the past year I have spent a lot of time reading and learning, understanding my strengths and my areas of weakness. I am far more aware now of the areas of my life that I need to develop and improve.

And apologies for taking so long to get to it, but this brings me to my real point. Because I know that my life is a constant work in progress, I’m not going to waste any time in beating myself up about the areas where I’m not perfect. None of us are perfect. We all have things about us that we would improve. Go easy on yourself. Treat yourself with kindness. Be your own best friend. The great thing is that so long as we have breath, we can change. And what we cannot change, we can learn to live with.

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