At the beginning of 2020 My Java Journal began an exploration of, and was focused towards growth. However, only with the close of 2020, and after reviewing my 2020 blog posts, have I properly looked at the definition of growth;
Growth is the process of increasing in size.
It is true that growth then relates to amounts, value, and importance, but it can also be more qualitative in nature; such as when relating physical, mental or spiritual themes – health. Upon reflection, growth for me in 2020 was most reflected in my attitudes towards health and relationships.
Was there true growth though?
There was. It took some contemplation, but I can see now that it came in the form of understanding.
If growth is, by definition, an increase, then what increased for me was my level of understanding. Understanding that:
- I can be a better person
- The little things can make the biggest differences
- Love needs to be expressed, everyday
- Love can mean different things to different people
- Perspective can be adjusted and changed
- Focus is hard, but necessary
- Respect is reciprocal
- We need to pause occasionally, especially before we react
- Empathy is important
- Adventure is core to my being
- Failure, and bad decisions, and bias will happen; but that we can learn and grow from them, and better ourselves for them
- Recognizing opportunity, and fostering a willingness to work and adapt are needed for growth
- Perhaps most importantly, we each have, at all times, freedom of choice – but also, that choice bears with it consequence
If we consider George Eliot’s position that,
The strongest principle of growth lies in the human choice.
then we can better appreciate Viktor Frankl’s (from whom I’ve learned so much), that,
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
So, with this I now understand that becoming a better person, or recognizing the value of the little things, or that focus is hard but necessary, are all matters of choice. You have to choose to be a better person, notice the little things, and find focus. Happiness, indeed, is a choice too.
Maybe actual growth for me did not happen in 2020, but perhaps instead I only found my footing. Like a tree, which needs deep and strong roots to support growth – I feel steady and on stable footing now to grow – and grow big. I am ready.
I owe a debt of gratitude to 2020. Gratitude for providing this understanding. With 2021, every decision, each choice, every action will be a deliberate one. I have mountains to climb – literal and metaphorical – and it begins here, now.
Happy New Year, happy 2021. Don’t let the anticipation for the freedoms and joys that 2021 are expected to bring go unrealized. Make the choice to make 2021 the year you want and expect it to be.
Suffering is a test. That’s all it is. Suffering is the true test of life. – David Goggins