As I sit down to write this, we are halfway through the first month of the new year. A time when we are encouraged to set goals, dive into resolutions, and take steps toward becoming the new and improved version of our former self. This “New Year, New You” mentality feels even more amplified by the start of a new decade. Now is the time to decide what growths we wish to see in ourselves during the Twenties. But here’s the thing - I did a lot of growing in the Twenty-Tens. It was my first foray into adulthood and mistakes were made, lessons were learned, and life got real. Growth is hard. Growth is uncomfortable. I mean, we call it Growing Pains not Growing Pleasures.
So finally, in 2019, I began to feel some relief from those pains. It was a year when my relationships, finances, career, and spirit all simultaneously felt at ease. For the first time in my adult life I wasn’t being driven by some sense of lack, need, or want. So am I ready to give all that up for the sake of self-improvement? And if not, does that make me safe, lazy, or somehow less evolved?
Is there a balance between complacency and expansion?
I remember the first time I recognized tangible growth in myself. I had spent 2 months in Europe, staying weeks at a time in 4 different countries. I took dance classes, attended performances, and met dozens of new people. It was often hard and uncomfortable, but I came home energized and filled with knew knowledge, ready to put it into practice. Upon my return I met with a dear colleague and mentor to tell him all about it. Riding the high of being on the other side of the hump, I said I never wanted to stop growing.
“Be careful what you wish for…” He warned, in that way only a mentor can do.
At the time I didn’t understand. I felt as though I was watching his career and artistry continuously grow before my eyes. Wasn’t growth a key element to his success? Now, years of growing pains later, I’m understanding his caution, and while I can’t speak to his process, I can use his wisdom to set a new intention of my own:
Rather than “growing”, I seek to make this next chapter about “investment”.
Investment, unlike growth, asks us to capitalize on what we’ve already gained. To borrow from the growth of past experience and devote time, effort, and energy into the foundations that already exist for compounding results. How can I invest in the relationships, career(s), finances, practices, and spirituality I’ve fostered in the past ten years to improve myself and others in the future? A nuanced distinction, perhaps there’s no really difference between investment and growth in practice, but energetically, growth asks us where we are lacking, while investment asks us where we are thriving. This makes me feel much more prepared for the next ten years of self-betterment.