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When Friends Grow Up.

November 6, 2011

Recently I have felt as though all of my friends have grown up. And left me a youth.

I get that we’re all still the same age. And realistically I’m not a youth anymore. But.

I don’t have kids like many of them. In fact, I’m not married. Nor have I been within a mile and a half of “marriage”. Too, it’s been a long while since I’ve had a serious relationship. This arena of my life just isn’t where my focus has been or even where I feel like it’s going.

That’s okay. But.

There comes that awkward time in life when all of your friends get married. All of your friends have kids. Or the ones that aren’t doing those things feel huge societal pressures to be doing them. It starts to consume their lives. It’s all they can think or talk about. And pretty soon they begin getting depressed when they reach a certain age and these things haven’t happened. And if you’re not pursuing these same things, it can feel like your friends are slipping away. Into the family trance or into the obsession of family life.

And that’s okay. Friends grow. Sometimes apart. But.

That doesn’t have to be the definition of growing up. Maturity should not be defined on marital or parenthood life stages. There’s other ways to grow in life. No matter what you do, sometimes it just seems that as you get older, life gets lonelier. Even when things get lonely, and you have less in common with other people, stay strong. Know that the vision for your own life doesn’t have to be influenced by others.

If these things are what you were created for, then by all means, go for them. But if it’s not, don’t for one second believe that your own story must be similar to everyone around you.

As you get older, you will have the wonderful opportunity to watch your friends grow in all sorts of areas. Sometimes you’ll share these experiences with them. Other times they will be something completely foreign to you. The important part is that you support your friends as they go through these experiences. That you love them in and during this growth. And that you encourage them to keep growing. Not towards what you personally want for them, but towards what you know is their own personal call. Sometimes it’s hard. Because sometimes it means you’re encouraging people to leave you. But you must be okay.

Though you may feel lonelier, really you are in much greater company when you encourage people to fulfill their own missions. Be thankful, without hearing a thanks from them. Rest assured in knowing that you have helped someone else fulfill their own life. And, hopefully, if you’re doing it right, you’ll fulfill your own life in the process.

If you’re the one struggling because your life isn’t achieving those benchmarks fast enough, try to be okay without them. Daily affirm to yourself the reason why you are here. Focus on what you can do to be happy now. Focus on becoming the person that you should be with or without the presence of a significant other. Use your time now to be the very best that you can be. In doing so, you’ll probably be surprised with the wonderful things that come into your life. Whether they are new friends, new experiences, growth or even that highly sought after loved one.

No matter what comes, know it’s all okay. Because you tried your best. Because you fulfilled your own mission. Because you grew.

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