Coming of Age – Again

There are different times to come of age in life. There’s the coming of age from childhood to adolescence, from adolescence to adulthood, and one I’d like to think of as the coming of age from adulthood to enlightenment.

I’m going to say this coming of age happens in midlife, but I suppose it could happen any time. Spiritual teacher and Franciscan Richard Rohr calls it the “second half” of life, but that doesn’t mean we have an equal number of years in each part, nor does it mean we necessarily reach enlightenment in this human lifetime.

But there is a definite a shift. I began to notice it happening in my own life as I approached a “certain” age, though I still have a long way to go on this journey.

Dropping the Nonsense

At a certain point in life, it’s time to shed the nonsense — the insecurity that causes us to spend so much time caring what others think or what society is telling us we should want or feel or do.

It becomes time to stop blaming this or that experience or person for creating obstacles or stress or whatever it is that we’d like to believe is outside of us making us miserable, or for that matter happy.

We humans tend to lament the traumas and challenges of the past and things that “should not be” the way they are. It seems for some people, no matter how much time they spend on these “issues,” the issues remain.

To experience relief from this kind of suffering, we do need to admit our humanity. We need to stop pretending things don’t hurt or even traumatize us. We need to do the “work” of feeling our feelings, our pain, and our losses.

But we also need to get over it!

Will, Luck, or Grace? Getting Past the Past

I’m not sure there is any special way of getting over things we need to let go of. Is it an act of the will? Good luck? God’s grace? In my case, I’m beginning to suspect it’s just age. I was tired of my own lamenting a long time ago.

I still have my moments of regret and despair, of course. And I empathize with most of the whiners in my life, since I know we all need someone to witness our stories without judgment.

But the point of facing the pain or trauma of the past is to get past it. It’s not easy, but it is simple. There’s simply no way to complain our way out of doing what needs to be done to reach our goals.

Ever hear something like this: Well this guy got what I want but he didn’t have all of these issues and obstacles that I have. It’s been so hard for me, and I know he didn’t have the same challenges so I should just get what I want anyway because I really want it and if all this bad stuff didn’t happen to me, I’d have it. So I should have it even though I see myself as a poor pathetic loser with bad luck. And if I just got what I wanted I wouldn’t see myself that way anymore.

Eventually, we see this line of thinking doesn’t work. Now what?

If You Want to Feel Better, Change Your Mind

Most of our problems are in our minds. I don’t mean they’re imaginary, I mean we create them with our thoughts. Change happens when thinking changes.

Sometimes, this means realizing that getting what you want isn’t so important. Sometimes it means changing your belief about the obstacles in your way. You might even start to want the things you get. And perhaps you’ll even begin to realize how much you already have!

And then something even more amazing could happen. You’ll begin to see yourself as a beloved expression of creation. You’ll see your connection to all that is and realize you are enough.

The point is if you live long enough, you will likely change your ideas about what life should be like so you can appreciate what it is like.

And if you’re afraid you won’t be able to handle all the newfound joy and inner peace you might find if you decide to look for it, don’t worry. There will be plenty of opportunities for despair and disappointment should you find joy isn’t really your thing after all.

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Maria Kuzmiak, M.A. is a health and well-being writer with a background in nutrition, psychology and education and a passion for yoga. She has written hundreds of articles, blogs and newsletters for clients in health-related fields, particularly those specializing in yoga, natural medicine, nutrition, and spiritual health and healing. Maria has also worked as a nutritionist, teacher and technical editor. Learn more about her writing at www.wellbeingwriter.net.

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