[May 2, 2022] Stop acting like a child. Grow up and go on an adventure. Take on some responsibility. You are answerable to your own destiny.
The mature adult is the one with the innate desire to adopt responsibility for one’s self and others voluntarily. That person is the one interested in the unknown, has the yearning to explore, find new things, carry a heavy load, and be a rebel in a world of safety and conformity. Mature adulthood is based on the universal and ancient need to be accountable for one’s actions. This mission is the ancient call to adventure and heroism.
True enough, the burden is not and will never be easy. So, stop acting like a 10-year-old and get on with it.
There’s an old story, one that is from Greek mythology, about the Titan god known as Atlas that makes this point. In this famous story told to children worldwide, Atlas carries the world’s weight on his shoulders. Atlas is a universal symbol of endurance, strength, and resoluteness, as he calmly bears his pain of responsibility. To this day, Atlas remains one of the most enduring themes in art and literature. Why is this story so alluring? Why is it that we are sympathetic to Atlas? Why do we admire him so? The answer is that we are instinctively drawn to those who can hold the world (or family, community, team) together and voluntarily bear the weight of its problems.
Chose the weight you have to carry. Chose it so that you can justify your existence to yourself and end your day and think, “Look, I did what I needed to do to set things right today.” And, now you don’t have to feel the shame of your failures. And, as you carry that weight, it will gain you a bit of self-respect, which will carry you through terrible times.
Do those things that make you better, and hold onto the humility necessary to do so. Take on those lowly tasks that need doing and do so with a smile on your face and contentment in your heart. Some of your fondest memories will be from those times, your camaraderie with others doing those tasks, and you will look back upon them with a smile and a longing that you may say, “I miss those times.” The ‘why’ is that you carried the responsibility and did so willingly, contently, and thankfully, not with an arrogant attitude.
If you are young and unhappy, look around and see if there are opportunities, even flawed ones, you can take on. You can exploit those imperfect prospects to learn and grow.
Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).