You wonder, sometimes, just how grown-up you really are.
This happens, in the main, when you stumble, perhaps even fall down; when you quite possibly weren’t looking where you were going and then end up, breath knocked out of you, gasping for air, with shock-hot tears poking at your pride ducts.
And to be fair, how can you find the things that need mending unless you can see the holes? The real sign of being grown-up, of course, is how you decide to deal with the fall, and with what caused it in the first place. Do you sit and stamp your heels against the ground, screaming and flinging blame? Do you quietly seethe and vow to win vengeance? Or do you (because these questions must go in threes) take a deep breath, look behind you to see what happened and remind yourself not to do that again?
You never step in the same river twice, so they say, but of course, if you don’t learn from the tough times – if you then don’t grow – then the river’s going to look pretty much the same throughout your life. And that’s possibly secure, but it’s bloody boring. If you reinforce your own prejudices about the world (people are not to be trusted; I’m boring and ugly; people never understand one another) then you’re only building up impenetrable walls and choosing to make yourself lonely and miserable. Or boring and lonely and misunderstood and unable to trust anyone. Oh, look – a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I really admire people who can bite their tongue; who don’t need to bolster themselves in the eyes of others; who live in the present and don’t worry. But I know that some of those people find it hard to do some of the things I find easy. We’re all different and we all have different qualities: not having some of the good ones is not a failing – but it is a challenge, and after all, what else is life for?