How 2B a #Grownup (Part 1)

Dear Peeps,

I worry about you. I smile about you. I cry about you. I eat more cupcakes than I should thinking about you. I think about this world that you are growing up in and I can’t even imagine the courage that it takes to be you.

You inspire me. I see you. You are silly, smart, fierce, beautiful, talented, courageous, strong, curious, and unique.

My biggest fear is that we are crushing you. We, the adults- your family, educators, coaches, advisors. We are crushing you with good intention. We are crushing you by asking one question.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Boom! You have a label, a college or vocational list to pursue, a skill set to develop, a sport to perfect, a threshold for failure or for success to be measured by others and by a paycheck. While this question has its place, its importance, its benefits, there’s a bigger one.

Are you ready? Deep breath.

How do you want to be when you grow up? How? How do you want to be?

I know! If you know me, you are thinking, “What is Mrs. B-T going on about now? And…will we write an essay about it?” If you don’t know me (or even if you do), you are most likely steeped in curiosity. How does one figure out how they want to be? You are in luck. I’ve prepared a little CoachUcation for you.

Here are some tips on How 2B a #Grownup. 

1. Understand Judgments

Judgements about yourself or others mostly come from an unmet need. Once you understand that, your world will change. Needs can evolve from something that your life is lacking or something that you wish for. Needs are abstract nouns like safety, acceptance, trust, freedom, and space. Needs are not concrete nouns like cellphones, sneakers, concert tickets, deodorant, and pencils. You will make judgments. You will walk into a room and in a manner of seconds compare yourself to those that are in it. You will be more athletic, intelligent, beautiful, compassionate, or talented than someone. Or, you will be less than. Or, so you will think. This thought is normal. You are not alone. While you are so busy having this thought, so is everyone else. If they say they are not, then they are lying. If they say they are not and they truly are not, it’s because they can answer the big question from above. Make that person yours. Be like a cat. Scan the room and sit in the sunshine. Having a judgment can be powerful. It can prompt you to take an action to better yourself or help another. Here’s what is not OK. Having a judgement and taking an action that harms another.

2. Breathe

Before you make a choice, take an action, or respond- breathe. You can breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. You can connect with your breath. Count inside your head while you breathe or tap your thumb and each finger against your bicep or thigh, one at a time. Take a moment and scan your body. Notice any tension or excitement that is present. Unlock your jaw, drop your shoulder, and shift your hips. How do you want to be? Make your choice, take an action, or respond from this place. Do not be like a cat. A cat will jump 10 feet in the air when scared, will vomit a hairball because it is Wednesday, or will glare at you for breathing while she is breathing. Unless she is in the sunshine. Taking a moment or several moments (or days!) to breathe can help you make choices that are aligned with how you want to be.

3. Own Your Choices 

Your choices are yours. You made them. Yes, you have things that are outside of your control. Things that are bigger than having a bedtime or following a dress code. You have definitely inherited a history, but it doesn’t have to be YOURstory. (#newword. You’re welcome!) You do not have to wait until you are 18, 25, or 40 to start making choices that reflect who you are and who you want to become. Yes, it’s harder, Yes, it takes practice. Yes, it takes support. You can do it. While you are doing it, remember to allow for change of mind. Your mind. Others’ minds. Cats’ minds. Just like a cat who sits in a box. Jumps out of a box. Ignores the box for months. Cries until you return the box after you threw it out. People grow. We learn. We reflect. We change. That means we may make new choices. We may repeat old ones. We may throw ourselves on the floor and cry after we have thrown out our cupcakes for our physical health and want one at midnight. (Wait…that was just me when I was doing my report cards. Sorry.)   You are not your choices but your choices are yours.

Unless you’ve skipped the title (and I’ve taught you better than that- text features are on the test), you will have noticed this is Part 1. You can infer there will be a Part 2. I haven’t decided if Part 2 will be:

a. another post

b. a book

c. a podcast

d. a TEDTalk (#kidding #notkidding #catvomit!)

But, there will be more. There must be more. There has to be more.

You matter. I vow to do my part to protect the part of you that is still. Still Being. Still Growing. Still Learning How to be.

Share with a friend or a grownup. (Here’s a secret- we need reminders, too.)

~With Gratitude

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