My brother turned 20 last week. I, of course, took this as an opportunity to reflect on my own personal journey. Here’s what I found.
As I sat next to Igor on his 20th Birthday, my mind filled with thoughts and questions. I observed and spoke little during the dinner. I wanted to study him. Learn from him. Perhaps pick up on something I wasn't seeing in me. I inner-dialogued. To me, he seemed clear-headed, determined, focused, and even with his eyes on the prize there was still a lightness about him. He took life seriously but not too seriously. There seemed to be some sort of an equilibrium that I have long desired to attain and understand, but one that continues to evade me. I wondered..how does he do it?
The kid seemed genuinely happy. I can say this because I know him and I know what he's been through. It took time and patience - lots of it - for him to build up into who he is today after years of injuries, obstacles and adversity. We've had meaningful talks - the kinds I have in Workshop - where we've unpacked the things that have staled him. It is quite remarkable to consider that a young boy would have the courage to engage in such vulnerably at such a young age. Why? Because he was dedicated to personal growth, whether he knew it at the time or not.
It is a testament to the way in which he arrived into his 20's, exuding a sense of Confidence many would claw for. I must make note that his confidence isn't boastful. In fact, it's uniquely humble in that it's just enough to make you want to be around him, but not too much where he makes you feel small. That is the presence of a young man who moves freely in the skin he's in because he's taken the time and work and preparation and dedication to paint the canvas that he sees fit for him. He, at 20, is years ahead of me at 20, which is why I began to reflect in the first place.
I began noticing his patterns. Whenever he faced a fork in the road with a choice to choose between following other/societal expectations vs. following one's truth, he wisely chose the latter. His uncanny ability to tap into his intuition is nothing short of remarkable. So now as I sit here at 31 and reflect on myself at 20, I am noticing the patterns of my life. One sticks out the most: my inability to choose myself over everybody else, and my unwillingness to deal with the subsequent consequences until they reach a near fatal explosion.
I am learning now. Let me say this again. I AM LEARNING NOW. Which is why this decade is going to be different than decades past even if it doesn't seem like it right now. It's just taking time to get this new way of BEing off the ground. You know, it's not so easy to rewire all the things that have seemed to serve me but have actually harmed me and brought me down. It might not seem like it from a distance BUT THINGS ARE CHANGING. I AM CHANGING.
It's taken me a little longer than Igor (ten years longer in fact) to CHOOSE ME but I'm doing it and it's going to happen even more intentionally now. I want that too ... that lightness of BEing ... and perhaps I'm finally seeing that I don't need to do anything to deserve it. All I have to do is to choose ME and to Be.Me.