Years ago, I married someone who speaks nine languages, fluently. I, on the other hand, speak “American,” I’m not exactly stupid… I have two master degrees, a PhD. in abnormal psychology underway, I’m writing my third thesis and a couple of people, other than my parents, feel I might have something to say worth hearing. Regardless of my accomplishments, I was no match for this woman. She’s in the top 1% for intelligence on the planet. In reality, I could not compete, nor could I bring anything to the table she didn’t already know… it was like living with “Google”. As long as the sex was great we were great, but eventually, we grew bored with one another and wasted years we’ll never get back.
In the throes of a hot romance, we eloped to the Bahamas and married at sunset on a sandy beach…. Just the two of us. It could have been perfect, but it wasn’t. My mother never cared for the woman, because she saw her as an opportunist, and to be truthful, the woman never liked my mom, so there was no love lost.
When I came home and announced what we’d done, my mother looked me in the eyes and said, “this woman will outgrow you!” Those were the most insulting words ever spoken to me. They were also completely right! She did outgrow me, and I was totally bored with her. It was like a tea leaf prophecy; the future is seen before it’s lived. It was what it was…. nothing would change it.
This is normal, expected and makes complete sense. If you continue to grow, you’ll continue to outgrow things. However, as we get older and especially after we’ve been working for a while, growing stops being the norm. We fall into a routine and so do the same activities over and over again. We watch the same type of shows. See the same group of friends.
Think back to your past year. How much of it was similar to the year before? If everything around you remains constant, it is a clear sign that you’re not growing. And in the words of an American journalist, Gail Sheehy, “If we don’t grow, we aren’t living.”
Now, we all grow in different ways. Just because I outgrew eating out every meal doesn’t mean eating out is a bad thing. It just means that for me and in the direction I’m growing, sitting in 730 restaurants a year just don’t fit anymore. It’s like size 3 shoes, middle school and partying until 6 am. There is nothing wrong with these things; I just outgrew them.
Growth, if you think back to your adolescent years, is not always easy or fun. Unfortunately, this still holds true even in adulthood. When I hear everyone talk about the Oscars or the big game, I feel like I missed out. When I see people partying or dancing in the Hollywood world I call home; I want to jump in. In these moments, I find it helpful to remember my reasons for stopping these activities and the exciting things that have filled its place (like MJ).
One of the hardest things to accept is that if you continue to grow, you will outgrow people close to you… your friends… your family… even your spouse.
The only way for you to authentically stay close to these people is to:
Shrink when you are with them,
Help them grow with you or
Fully accept who they are and understand their influence on you.