The process of growing up


by Gary Torres

When my too kind and loving wife and I were younger, I thought that the three words she longed to hear most was “I love you”…
Now; many years later, I have come to realize that the three most precious words she waits to hear are: “I’ll clean up.”

I guess that’s what happens as we grow older; we learn a few things. Growing up is never easy. I seem to remember a time when all I really wanted for my birthday was some cupcakes and for Mrs. Lyman’s Fourth Grade class to sing happy birthday to me.
Of course, back then I thought girls had cooties, dreams were un-shattered, and my Sears tough skins were made so boys could crawl around playing marbles all day. Back then going to the doctor and getting a shot made me cry (still does) and usually a night light in a socket kept the scary things away.

I guess some of us hold on too tight to things that were and wonder too much about what’s to come. No wonder it is so hard to grow up. Of course it is hard to change and it doesn’t help that sometimes people try too hard to keep us in our place, always quick to remind us and others of our past mistakes.

Of course there is trick to growing old gracefully. I haven’t learned it; but I have seen people that just seem to be happy no matter what their age or circumstances.

If you are always looking forward to tomorrow; it makes you miss a lot of beautiful sunrises. You can’t keep living too far in the past and you probably shouldn’t be betting too much on the future. Live today…. dance today. “Of course you have to remember that to people that don’t hear the music, the ones dancing are crazy.”

I guess we all survive growing up; it’s just that some of us got in different lifeboats and naturally drifted apart. As expected, the sea kept rocking our boat. Some were bumped and slammed by the whales of adversity or casualties of choices. Some of the sharks patiently circled, confidant that some would panic and swim for it or worse, test their luck and swim because of peer pressure. Oh sure, there were those that rowed their lifeboat towards safer shores; but there were casualties; there always are.

Growing up came faster than any of us thought. Of course we weren’t always thinking so that caused some to grow up even sooner than we should have.

One day we were innocent children and we trusted everyone; then we learned that adults aren’t perfect and we all became awkward adolescents fighting everything and understanding nothing; and then we finally became adults the day we forgave our imperfect parents and all other imperfect adults.

We became wise when we finally admitted that we too were imperfect adults and forgave ourselves and decided that we were going to be happy no matter what our age or circumstances .
So I am not getting any younger and even though the three words my too kind and loving wife really loves to hear me say are “I’ll clean up.” I still think the three most precious words are “I love you.” Try that on someone next to you and see if doesn’t make their day.

San Juan Record

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