Growing up started for me with a decision. A yes, no decision… simple. That was it. Yet how could such a seemingly simple decision change ones life forever. Change ones lifestyle. Change ones knowledge. Change ones maturity. It was that yes, no decision for me, that changed my life forever, and made my life a life less ordinary.
Growing up is a process, a transition that everyone in this world goes through. Growing up is the “progression toward psychological maturity”… or at least that’s what Wikipedia says! But growing up is not as easy as Wikipedia makes it out to be. It’s not just as simple as ‘psychologically maturing’. In fact, I found it extremely challenging. Now this may have been because of my personality, my lifestyle, or maybe it was because I didn’t have someone telling me where to go and where to be. Maybe it was that lack of precision guidance that I was not used to, that adjustment to living without my parents… my teachers… my coaches, telling me what they wanted, what they needed. You see growing up is something that is achieved over time, something learnt. Learnt through life experiences, either yours, or someone else’s. Growing up is the progression from child hood into adult hood. The progression from being irresponsible to being responsible. Growing up is a key moment in our lives.
For me I made a decision. A yes, no decision. A decision to grow up… achieve my dreams… “reach for the stars”… turn into an adult. This was a decision that changed my life. I chose to come down here. I left the safety of my burrow and ventured out into the world of change and found a new burrow. A new home. However this was a home without parental guidance. A home without the control of people around me. A home without limits. Despite that, it was a home full of opportunity. It was, and is, a home where I can mature and grow up. For me, moving out of home was the action that forced me to grow up.
My progression from child hood into adult hood was a struggle for me and continues to be so. I was forced to change my habits and take matters into my own hands. Make plans. Set goals. Motivate myself. It was all these changes that I needed to make that made my life stressful, tiring and sometimes painful. It was the workload piled onto me mixed with me still learning how to manage myself and my time effectively and efficiently. It was the extra curricular activities taking up my time that I had to work around. It was the sacrifices i had to make to achieve my goals and get things done. It is all of these things that are part of growing up. They are the obstacles you must pass en route to your destination. Maturity.
My whole life I have aspired to be a pilot. My dream. This dream was turned into reality down here with the aviation programme. However as we all know, nothing comes easy, you have to work hard to achieve your dreams, dedicate yourself, put in the effort. I was told this and I was told this. Over and over. But as a child you don’t see these things. You’re a child. It all just flies over your head. However as I grew up I did see this. As I was thrown into it all I did see it. I saw how much effort I was going to have to put in. How hard I was going to have to dedicate myself. How hard I was going to have to work to achieve my dreams. And without my parents here I was forced to adapt and deal with it on my own. I had to grow up. I made plans, I set goals, I motivated myself and I pushed to succeed as I knew how much I was going to have to push myself to make my dreams reality. This is what growing up is about. This is what adult hood is about. This is what ‘psychologically maturing’ is about. It’s about applying yourself. It’s about making the right choices. It’s about sacrificing to achieve your goals. It’s about responsibility.
I was also forced to grow up when it came to school. Although with only taking four in-school level three classes. They just so happened to be the ones I found the most challenging. Ones that I was not naturally good at. Ones where before I had my teachers and parents to hand feed me. Ones where now I had to really focus myself and work extremely hard to keep up with. Again I was riddled with distractions. Mountain biking, Flying, Hockey and now Skiing. I had to prioritize myself and do things which may not have been what I wanted to do. But what I had to do. This for me was a huge struggle as I am very easily distracted and am a master at procrastination. Mountain biking?… Yea I’ll go. Skiing?… I’ll be there. But I had to stop myself. I had to think. Prioritize. Be responsible with my decisions. Because I knew If I was failing school. The first things I would have to stop doing is the things I wanted to do most. I had to make daily plans and study schedules. I had to make the right choices when it came to doing my school work. This was something I really struggled with to start with but once I had plans in place and learnt how to say no, I managed to prioritize. This is a major contributing factor to growing up. To becoming an adult. Learning when to say no. Learning to prioritize. Learning how to structure yourself.
A big part of my life has been sports such as rugby, biking and most of all hockey. Hockey has been a huge part of my life and has taught me a lot of lessons about being a leader, positive influence and being a team member. However this has increased even more for me this year as I have been involved a lot more through coaching, mens hockey, youth hockey and representative hockey. Coaching has really forced me to step up and mature as it has shown me the influence I can have on others. It also forced me to plan ahead and create training schedules and also gave me opportunities to self reflect and improve my own personal performance. Playing hockey also gave me opportunities to step up as a leader and influence others in the team and really helped me realise the influence one can have on others. Hockey also helped me with my organisational skills which at the start of the year were somewhat lacking. With rep hockey being all over the island I had to organise transport and accommodation along with making sure I wasn’t slipping behind with everything else that was going on around me. This required forward thinking which was another key part of growing up and becoming an adult. Learning the ability to self manage.
Growing up is a process that takes time. It requires one to move from being a child to being an adult. To be mature is to make informed and sensible decisions. To be respectful of others and yourself. To be responsible. To grow up is to have the skills to move away from your burrow and live by yourself. To leave the comfort of home, the comfort of being a child. And to venture into the unknown where you will transform into an adult. To bear responsibilities and influence others. That for me, is what growing up is.