For years I thought I was all grown up, I thought I knew it all and that my life was pretty much perfect. I had a great job, lots of money, lots of friends, and I lived the high life in London. I was pretty much at the peak of my career and I thought I was happy.

Looking back on those days, I see my life totally differently. Now I see it as totally and utterly miserable. I wasn’t free. I felt literally chained to my work and my social life, and I mixed with people who didn’t know the real me.

As you grow older and grow up for real, you begin to realize that the carefree lifestyle you think you are living isn’t what life is all about. In some respects it is – keeping that child-like quality to your life is so important – but what is even more worthwhile and totally liberating is growing up and grasping that growing older doesn’t mean something depressing or sad. In fact, it’s the opposite: it’s what life is really about!

Here are a few reasons why I think just that:

1. Your mind grows too, not just your body

It’s true, you’ll get grey hair, wrinkles and maybe put on a bit of extra weight around the waist, but what you’ll gain there is nothing compared to what you will gain within your mind.

When you are young your mind is new, like a blank canvas, but as you grow you get to stretch it and use it in ways you never thought possible. Growing up gives you the chance to expand your thinking, to delve into the weird and the wonderful, and it will encourage you to create your own beliefs, opinions and values.

2. You start to see people for who they really are

We’ve all got friends, right? Some are the ones you have a laugh with, some are those you have deep conversations with, and the others are just mere acquaintances.

Yet, you’ll know the ones who are immature, the ones who refuse to grow up. They’ll be the ones who still muck about in restaurants, who think it’s funny to make fun of people in public and who still hang out late at night drinking and playing pranks.

It’s OK to have fun, I’m not saying that, but don’t you want to be the person who you were meant to be? By living a purposeful life, doing what you love and being surrounded by people who ‘get’ you?

The choice is yours, just know that you can either stay acting like a 16-year-old or you can enjoy life to its fullest and grow up.

3. You realize that it’s healthy to be on your own

I couldn’t wait until I moved out of my family home; I was 19 and found a room in a shared house. I just couldn’t wait to get out there and fend for myself. The thought was not only thrilling but I knew that it would mean that growing up would be that much quicker.

Yes, I’ll admit it was scary, but you know what? There is nothing better than knowing you can look after yourself and start to ‘bring home the bacon,’ as it were. It’s a great feeling knowing that you will no longer rely on your mother to have dinner ready for you when you get home from work, or that you have make sure you’ve got the rent for next month.

It might be a struggle at times, but what appears to be a struggle is just a lesson in something, and if you can look at it that way you’ll go a long way towards growing up and loving every minute of it!

4. You don’t care what other people think

This is a big step up towards growing up. Remember at school you’d always want to look cool or hang out with the popular crowd? When you start to grow up, you’ll learn that other people’s opinions of you and what they think don’t really figure in your life anymore.

You’ll be so much happier going your own path in life, and once you start that journey you’ll not want to look back!

There is nothing more liberating than not caring what others think of you, because you’ll focus on your own wants and needs and live to please yourself. Just remember that’s not an excuse to be selfish or conceited – not at all! It’s more the fact that if you are happy within yourself and your own decisions, you’ll be a much nicer person to be around!

5. You’ll become much more open minded

Remember how you’ve always wanted to write a book or travel to some far-flung, mosquito-infested jungle somewhere? As you grow you’ll think of ways of creating those dreams and begin to give yourself permission to just go for it.

What you’ll realize is that the word ‘impossible’ is no longer in your vocabulary. You’ll start to see doors opening where they were once closed, providing you with new and thrilling adventures along the way. Growing older will give you the courage to open your mind much further than before and fill your life with miracles.

6. You realize change is a good thing

Remember where you were in your life 10 years ago, who you were with, what you were doing and the clothes you wore. Yeah, they are probably pretty embarrassing memories, but what this shows you is that life changes and there’s not much you can do about it.

Now imagine what you will be doing in another 10 years from now, it’s exciting isn’t it? Change is something that should be embraced, not be feared, and it’s a great way to re-invent your life and make it more memorable as you get older. Plus it’s a wonderful way to learn from your mistakes, and improve yourself and your relationships.

7. You finally understand what really makes you happy

With growing up comes a better understanding of yourself and your needs. It’s here, knowing who you really are, that you can find out what truly makes you happy. It’s purely personal and could be anything from painting landscapes, to reading a good, juicy novel, or listening to great music.

It’ll also sort out the unhappy stuff too, which will guide you through the rest of your life so you keep doing stuff that makes you happy instead of unhappy. Making the decisions for your own life is all part of growing up and with this comes a knowing that life is pretty limitless.

8. You become grateful for what you already have

I see kids today always wanting something else, something new to distract themselves with and wanting what the other kids have. They never seem to be happy with what they already have, leaving many parents wringing their hands in frustration and debt!

As you grow up, learning to be grateful for what you already have is a wonderful approach to life. It makes your life so much easier, no longer focusing on what you don’t have and being happy with what you do have. Once you grasp this, which you will do as you grow, you’ll get more stuff to be grateful about!

9. You realize taking care of your body is important

What you put into your body is important. Having never been a fast food person I personally don’t get the reason why we as a culture love it so much, but I do understand that it’s fast and it fills the hole!

It’s OK for when you are young because your metabolism is that much faster. You’ll probably do more exercise and, let’s face it, taking care of yourself isn’t that high on your agenda. However, as you get older you’ll understand that your body is a finely tuned instrument, working on your behalf to keep you going, to keep you alive and well.

What you put into your body is so important, not only for your own health but also because you’ll want to stick around long enough to have children, to meet your grandchildren or even long enough to outlive your dog! So taking the time out to eat well and exercise regularly seems a fair exchange don’t you think?

10. It’s just going to happen!

No matter how hard you try, how young you think you dress, or what color your dye your hair, you are going to get old and that’s a fact!

Choose today to stop trying to prevent it from happening and just let it be.

Grow up. Let life take you on its glorious ride and learn to love every minute of it. You’ll thank yourself for it in the end trust me!

Featured photo credit: benleto via flickr.com

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