One wintry morning on secluded Ponte Vedra BEach
Growing up is not easy. You have to climb your way through many different emotional and physical stages. You are tempted to constantly undertake new things that cause you to seek approval of others, usually your parents. Then, often when your a new found skill surfaces, the adults in your life get a bit frightened at your show of independence. They were just getting comfortable with you being where you were. They sense you pulling just a little bit farther away from them. Although this is natural, most parents find it a bit sad. No, growing up is not easy. There is a constant challenge before you to make the correct decision based on your limited life experiences.

During our early to mid twenties we have it all figured out. We think we know what we want, and we have a plan in place to get it. f we have been fortunate to have parents who told us we could “have it all”,” reach for the sky”, “you can be whatever you want”, you set out believing just that. And, the fact is, you really can have it all. But, somehow we never grasp the warning about the hard work, sacrifice or the pitfalls we might encounter along the way. Once we reach our thirties, we probably have found that we don’t know everything, almost, but not everything.

Pitfalls are actually character builders. They are the “pits” in life that we find ourselves desperately climbing out of. And they usually involve a big fall, the painful jackpots we find ourselves in that we must pull ourselves out of, dust ourselves off, only to find we have not gotten anywhere…or so it appears. Actually we have gotten somewhere. We have gained knowledge, experience. The more difficult the situation, the more we have learned. Proof that we have learned from a difficult experience is if we ever make the same mistake twice. Character building is tough.

Success is the prize and comes in many forms. It can be landing the perfect job, finding the perfect mate, just peace in your life, a sense that you are on the right track. It can be a fat bank account or a simple life filled with contentment. It is the carrot that leads you thru the race, the golden egg. A feeling of accomplishment, the “puffing up”, the intense feeling of high self worth felt most vividly when we realize we have done all that is right and can touch feel or see our shining achievement.

The best realization, and I should add it might come early or very late in life, is when we figure out all of the difficulties, trials, pain and tears, struggle, stress, plain old hard work all lead to the greatest of our successes. For it is not without pain and suffering that we reap the fruits of success. Success would not be as sweet had we not struggled to achieve it and best of all not on the back of anyone else. We must endure all of this our selves to truly achieve.

If you are feeling stricken by growing-pains, be patient and content in the knowing that the shining star is waiting. You still will not have all of the answers.You may even feel as if you know less than you did at 20, but, you will be a deeper more compassionate person for it and others will seek your wisdom which is the ultimate compliment.

Faith in God is the one true thing you can hold on to. While the others around you may or may not always be there, God will be and He will whisper His approval or disappointment every step of the way. So, if I would give one golden piece of advice to you……remember your priorities: #1 God – #2 family (might include extended family) – #3 work! I promise you will never go wrong if you listen to the whispers and keep your priorities in order.

Reach for the sky, be the best you can be. You CAN be anything you set your mind to.