Aging Out

The 20s are all about coming to terms with imperfections. Things never happen the same way twice and will never be the same. Nothing and nobody is perfect. We're all flawed, chipped, cracked and a little off balance. We are who are complete with our not so appealing qualities. All of us have shortcomings, the sooner we realize that the better. We get older and it all becomes more apparent. We're aging out. 
There's not a guide to growing up, if there was I would have read it by now. We're all trying to figure our way around this world and each other. There's no clearly defined way to do it either. One of the biggest complaints I hear from people is about their parents. Let me burst your bubble, your parents do not, I repeat, do not know everything. There comes a time in your life when you realize you've taught your parents something they never before. That day changes you forever because instead of being impervious, omniscient super humans, they are reduced to nothing more than just average people. I learned in high school, a lot of college students are learning now. Your parents are human. They can and will make mistakes. It's okay for them to do so. It's them showing their vulnerabilities and proving just that raising fully functional members of society is not the easiest thing, in fact it just may very well be the most difficult job ever. After all the stuff that goes down, it's truly a miracle and because of your parents love that they haven't given up on you. Attitude, disrespect, pride and ungratefulness, all symptoms we suffer from all too often as young people. When did we forget to say please and thank you. I mean really telling your parents how much you appreciated all they've done for you. While they may have been obligated to care for you, they didn't have to. It's not compulsory. They've done so much, made so many sacrifices and put you first above all else - it's truly amazing who these people are. Not everyone is lucky enough to have parents like these. We get hung up on this instances, and incidents which on the grand scheme of things really don't matter. Parents look beyond our imperfections and take us as we are anyway. Who else in this world does that. Thank your parents, no matter what they have or have not done for you. Your life could have always been worse. We're aging our and looking back. 
The worst thing a parent can do is give up on you. It's the most painful thing that can ever happen to you. It cuts you deep and leaves you there to bleed out in the most excruciating way possible. Those who are supposed to support your regardless of any circumstance has thrown in the towel. It's devastating. Have mercy on them and show your heart. Forgive and let go. Don't hold a grudge against your parents if they didn't do all they could or should have for you. It's hindering your progress. Let your wounds heal and display that compassion that is so rare yet makes this world worth living in. Parents don't always do what's right or know what's best, but most of the time they really do. When they mess up they need to be given the same opportunities to repair the damage, just as they have given to your countless times. The best thing my parents ever taught me was think for myself, and that is I must do, every single day. Do not give up on your parents. It's a gift to have them, no matter what your relationship is like. It's time to grow up and get real. Have open and honey conversations with your parents and stop playing games. No more hiding behind jokes or tears, just talking. You have to establish yourself, respectfully, in your family as a young adult - someone deserving and requiring equal treatment. That does not mean demanding or expecting, just being given the chance to speak, be heard and understood. Choose your words wisely and be deliberate when addressing your parents. Listen and keep calm. So many conversations go nowhere because emotions run high and composure goes our the window. Bring your facts and prepare to explain, always. Give your parents time to process and stand firm in your decisions. This is your life, now more than ever, but they need to be apart of it. The roles must be adjusted. Once that happens, get ready to act like an adult. We're aging up and out. 

There are two kinds of people in this world, those who can be warned about danger and listen to the admonishment and those who must have an ordeal occur to learn a lesson from that danger. I am the prior and it's helped me avoid so many potentially disastrous situations. I find most people however to be the latter. Scared straight, a near brush or a miraculous occurrence, it shouldn't take a terrifying experience to learn a lesson, but somehow it does. Learn to listen and take people's advice, it's given for a reason. Last but not least, choose for yourself, trust your instincts, take a step back and look at the obvious things you may be missing. The right thing when you look in the mirror, may be closer than they appear. This weekend I finally listened to my heart and told my mom that I did not want to be a doctor. After getting some advice from my facebook friends and my big brother in my fraternity, Gabe, about looking at your résumé - mine points to journalism or higher education and student affairs. I braced myself and talked to my mom. I mean like really dug deep and was serious about it. I told her my new life plan, and that this is actually what my purpose has always been. She was distraught at first but came to accept it. Next stop, getting my dad to do the same. Wish me luck. I'm aging out.

The 20s are all about coming to terms with the facts. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes we don't always get what we want. Sometimes our parents make mistakes. None of us are immune. We will fall sometime, someday, somewhere along the line. You have to show that same unconditional love that people have shown for you to them when things don't go your way. Look at the big picture, the little things and details can sometimes get in the way.

My blog post question for the day is ... what's your relationship like with your parents? Mine's the classic African parent one. They speak, I listen and oblige, or graciously give my opinion in the most respectful way possible. Disinheritance is a real thing.

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