Watching my nephew grow remains the highlight of my life. Yep, he is still learning and still growing. In what seems like an overnight process, I have watched him grow and grow right out of diapers, clothes and shoes on into bigger and bigger sizes in each. He is 6 years old now.
As I thought on this fascinating phenomenon of growth, I was reminded of the days when dolls and the “days of the week” underwear weren’t gonna cut it anymore. GI Joe figurines and kisses from the folks in front of the buddies were a no-no. I thought about how at a certain stage of growth, for some, the apartment becomes too small and the search is on for a house with more space. The two-door sports car is traded for a four-door sedan and the four-door sedan is later replaced by a sliding door mini-van.
I thought about when some reached that point where the late night partying and early morning hangovers lost their appeal. Then, there is the question about what you ever saw in that girlfriend/boyfriend or that clique you hung with back in high school or even in college.
What it boiled down to was that the phenomenon occurring with my nephew as a young child is the same one we experience at many other times in our lives. Put simply, we just outgrow things and, sometimes, people.
In a lot of cases, thank goodness for growth, right?
Yes, and we should embrace our growth. I have found that often some of us choose to be stifled or to allow ourselves to be limited in our ambitions because we are trying to fit into a friendship or relationship that is no longer our size.
We hang onto friends who we once connected with around certain shared interests and activities. We hang onto relationships with people who do not align with what we want for ourselves. We changed, or they have changed and sometimes so does the nature and quality of the relationship with them. Whether you want more from life or your worldview has evolved, you may be faced with outgrowing some of the things and people around you.
Some time ago, a friend of mine admitted that she was bothered by my suggestion that she had perhaps outgrown her boyfriend at the time. In her mind, acknowledging that she may have outgrown him was arrogant and selfish.
I realized then that is part of the mistake a lot of people make. It is why we stay in unfulfilling and unbalanced relationships and friendships. I explained that recognizing that perhaps you have outgrown someone does not mean that you are an arrogant person who thinks you are better than another. Just like we would do with a pair of pants or a shirt that became too tight, too big or too short, sometimes, we have to find a different size.
Growth and change are a part of life’s journey. Sometimes our relationship to people, places, and things change and these are no longer a good fit for us. Growth and change nudges us along life’s paths and if we are alert enough to what is happening and open enough to the many wonderful possibilities that could result, we figure out ways to adjust, adapt, and embrace the process.
Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.