Do you still remember being six or seven and being taken to get new shoes with your parents? Or those hand-me-downs which used to belong to your brother until he didn’t want the grotty old things anymore? It was always that same phrase your mother would say when you raised your leg and your feet slipped out: “Well, you’ll grow into them.”
Throughout our lives, I believe we are constantly growing into things. Whether it’s parenthood or a friendship, that job you never thought you’d get used to or the marriage you fell into. I’m growing into a lot of things at the moment, and half of them I couldn’t even describe. You’re growing into things too. It’s part of human nature to change and grow and survive and realise, one day, that you’ve grown. Just like that. A little epiphany for you alone. “Oh hey, this guy’s actually someone I can call a friend. That’s weird; it feels like I’ve known him forever even though it’s only been a couple of weeks.” Or, “Hey, I’m not so bad at this job/marriage/painting/parent thing. I’m actually pretty good.”
Last week, I was in the middle of being stressed out about exams and I decided I needed a break. So I started trying to tidy my room (as you do), which for me really only means I take the papers and junk on my desk and throw them into my cupboard. (I’m pretty sure something’s growing in there now.) In the process, I uncovered the printed manuscript of the first novel I’d ever written. 400+ pages of fantasy covered in dust and old dreams. Dreams that I realised I still held. And I laughed, not out of any sort of delight, but because the writing was so bad. Absolutely terrible. And that was a brilliant thing. A wonderful thing. Despite a constant negativity informing me that my writing and the current novel I was working on were bad, childish, and unworthy of the viewing of others, the very fact that I could see how badly I used to write has shown me how much I have grown. I’m growing into these writer shoes. And maybe I’ve still got a lot of growing to do, but that doesn’t mean my growth so far has been meaningless.
We’re always growing, people. Every time we make mistakes and every time we succeed and every time we feel like we’ve achieved nothing at all. Whatever you think you are bad at, you have progressed in it farther than you think you have. You are only, constantly, growing. You are growing into that writer or that parent or growing into that successful career person or that dedicated student. The year is young and you still have so many more days in which to grow. So don’t give up until the day you’re able to look down and think to yourself: “Hey. I think I’m growing into these shoes. Heck, I think they’re starting to fit.”