Growing pains

Published 1:25 pm Thursday, January 4, 2024

When I was about seven years old, my dad took a business trip to Atlanta. 

For a few days, I was home with my mom and older sister. It was summertime, I believe, because I wasn’t in school, and I starkly remember being in shorts and a tank top for most of that time Dad was gone.

I was in pain for days. Physical pain. Every muscle in my body ached, mostly in my legs and arms. It was as if I’d spent hours doing lunges and pushups the day before, but I hadn’t. I’d only simply woken up. 

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I remember one of those days my dad was absent, my mom had been on the phone with my grandma, walking through the hallway. I––rather dramatically––had been on my hands and knees, trying to follow her into her room but failing, only to collapse––again, pretty dramatically––on the floor. 

From down there on the floor, I’d asked my mom what the heck was wrong with me and why my body was so darn sore: “Mom. . . why. . . am. . . I . . .so. . . sore?” I’d croaked. 

She had said I was experiencing growing pains, a result of rapid physical growth, common among children my age. I’d had nothing to worry about, but I still felt like death.

What a drama queen.

But growing pains hurt. The older I got, the less physical they became. Rather, they were followed with growth of the mind, heart, spirit. All the things you can’t see getting taller, but they’re all the things that should be towering over my life. A healthy mind, heart and spirit, all that should get bigger by the year. 

Those kinds of growing pains are the worst kind because a warm bath or workout can’t heal them. 

Over the past several years I’ve been a columnist, and I’d say my column has seen the best and worst of me. When I began in December of 2020, fresh out of college, I had no job in sight and was, frankly, in a pretty terrible place in my life. I had very little direction; it seemed the world was spinning too fast, and I was losing balance. 

In 2021, I made a “Year of New Things” resolution and went on spontaneous adventures, exploring new things. 

2022 brought a blur of emotions and new people, jobs and career opportunities. And here I sit at the dawn of ‘24, having climbed so far up the ladder that I can look down at the rungs where I hung so long and see they’re worn where my grip was so tight. Others are dirty from the mess I climbed through, but looking down the ladder now, the rungs are cleaner. 

I moved faster this year. I climbed higher from the places I’ve been and hiked quicker to the places I’m meant to be. 

Maybe this year, I’ll reach those places. But it’ll hurt, because growth isn’t painless.

Building strength means tearing muscles.

Happy New Year, my dearest readers. Remember: if you’re comfortable, you’re not growing. 


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