The Illusion of Growth

One day, it happens that it’s the day, but not the day you imagined.

I lived my first life in the illusion of growth.

The path has not been easy, nor mostly aligned with my dreams. I seemed to work on something that could improve my life, and years usually brought something “more” than what was in the past.

Education, work, family, money. Ups and downs, and not easy, but the future is usually brighter than your past, especially in your youth. Your dreams safely reside in your future.

One day.

One day will be the day. One day, the right circumstances. One day, enough money. One day, enough time.

Meanwhile, you live. You make sacrifices. You entertain yourself. Maybe you work on real improvement.

Years pass and you accumulate a life. You collect memories. Memories fill pages, once blank pages.

You notice that fewer blank pages are left, but there’s time. Maybe you’re even proud of what you have written till now.

One day.

One day, it happens that it’s the day, but not the day you imagined.

That day, I lost my father, suddenly.

You expected him to be there for long. You expected to celebrate another birthday. You expected to call him once more. Maybe one day to go fishing with him again. When you’ll have time.

You already know death, but missing your blood, seeing his or her future disappear suddenly, is different.

Then life goes on.

At some point, your career stops.

One day.

One day I went home, and I was back at square one.

You invested for years in the wrong direction. Or the right direction with the wrong outcome. Or the right direction with the wrong people.

Or it was all wrong, and you were too busy to notice.

You don’t have another life to redo everything from the beginning, to meet again people who are no more there. You’ve already lived.

You’ve lived your first life. If you’re lucky, a second one is there, even if it doesn’t seem so.

Maybe shorter, maybe with fewer energies, maybe with less health, maybe with fewer opportunities. But, if you’re lucky, it’s there.

What it’s no more there is the illusion of growth. Because you realize that your future is your present. That who or what is there now, can concretely not be there tomorrow. That money won’t buy a third life. That your improvement means something only if you will get something out of it, be it mindfulness, love, a soul, an actual contribution to your values.

Time passes, and there’s nothing you can do to live it again. One day, even memories will be gone.

What’s beyond growth?

The first thing you see beyond growth is authenticity.

You have a second occasion. Reinventing won’t be easy, and you’ll have to compromise, one more time. But you cannot miss the opportunity. You cannot let your second life pass without having lived it intentionally. You can’t let your second life sunk because of unnecessary ballast.

Beyond growth, there is seeing what you want in your life, and going to the heart of it, being brutally honest with yourself. Possibly, with others too. Knowing now. Acting now. Living now.

It’s not that you stop working on your future. But your life and your entire personality need to have a direct connection with your present and your future. You live your present, and you need to act according to decisions.

It’s not growth. It’s living at it’s fullest. It’s being present and intentional.

The second thing you notice is that “growth” is not exactly disappeared. Maybe you’re wiser. Maybe you’re more capable of love. Maybe you see clearer. Maybe you’re more determined.

You see that change is the nature of your life. And you have the opportunity to drive this change, in part.

Growth is the illusion. Change is the reality. Being is the opportunity.

You can do something better with your life. But it won’t be growth. It will be freeing yourself of the imaginary you, the wrong you, and acting coherently with the life you have in mind. It will be going straight to the core of things, of your vision, of your relations.

Subtracting will be the only way to adding.

It won’t be growing; it will be diving, deciding, acting, loving, living. In perpetual change, because you can’t stop change and you have to accept it.

It’s exactly the same with humanity. There’s no growth, without an authentic appreciation of life and intentional effort. The rest is a different form, different age, different persons, different borders, different perspectives, different objects, different ways of passing the time.

There will be only one growth, in your life. It will be to realize, with your whole being, that you have the gift of life, and that that gift will be different, every day, even if you don’t daily notice, with no way back.

Your only possible growth is being aware of your daily gift and living the change you want to happen. Anything else is just change.