I think back very often to the time when I was 13 years old. Being an adult seemed so far away and I was not sure I could wait long enough to do all the things for which I needed to be grown-up: have a job, run my own company, get married, be my own person and every imaginable set of shenanigans that an early teenager could conceive. I knew that things might get rough and bumpy along the journey, but I never imagined that any of those minor challenges would stand in my way. I was desperate to grow up.
As I have added days, months and years, I have had several moments when I just wanted things to slow down just a little bit so that I could fully comprehend my situation and adapt to it; some months have whizzed by without brakes so much so that I can look back on entire chunks of my life with little recollection of who I was or what I was feeling; all I have are definite memories of milestones, conversations, events, places, people and times, and those are all enough for me. I have come to realize that growth is not measured by footsteps; growth is measured in memories.
The older I grow, the less worried I am about my past, my present or my future. I have developed a mantra that I have begun to share with everyone around me: “Give yourself time”. I never used to be that person though; I was always eager to achieve that next thing on my ever-expanding to-do list. I was driven by an invisible fiery carriage, dashing through life at unbelievable speed with little regard for the scent of the roses. I did stop every now and then, but I had an urgency to get things done that even I couldn’t fathom. I haven’t lost any of that fire; I have just learned to give myself time. Some of the things which I desperately seek to achieve in the future are splattered around me in the present, and I am learning to recognize them: quality time with people that matter, investing consciously in people who look up to me, constant evaluation of my acquisition of skills and competencies, and a deep connection with my inner, spiritual self.
The memories which I see clearly in my rear-view mirror are crystal: things I have been privileged to do, places I have been, people I have met and times that seemed to last forever. I am thankful for the many experiences I have had that have shaped the person I am today. I would honestly change absolutely nothing about the road I have travelled, because it doesn’t matter exactly what I did; it matters that I did some things and I learned from them. I have grown in many ways since my days as a precocious teenager, and I have the memories to prove it. I still have long ways to go, but now I can consciously treasure these memories as I build them.
And roses do have a beautiful smell, actually.