For me, adulthood is that age when you not only have finally grown those wings you dreamt to have as a youth… but also learnt to use them responsibly.
It’s not enough to learn how to fly; it’s also as important to learn when not to fly. It’s not enough to learn how to spread your wings to ride the wind; it’s also important to know when to tuck them in when the winds blow too strongly against you.
Like many youth, I used to think and live as if I was going to live forever. Sure, I’ve been aware of death — from my dearest cousin who died from sickness at age 12, to a good neighbor who was murdered, to an inspiring church adult who passed away from an accident injury. Yes, I am aware of how fragile life was, but only for a while. Life is too beautiful, too wonderful. Life brims and overflows with hope.
Or so I thought.
Like many youth, I had a lot of dreams and hopes. And like many youth, I had a lot of dreams and hopes crushed, forgotten or simply had given up on.
A dream that I would finish my college degree so awesomely as I did during my high school years. That I would land a career that would bring me beyond the confines of this country and be successful and famous.
A hope that my first love would be my last. That my first kiss would be with the girl I would marry someday.
I dreamt of smaller dreams, and hoped of smaller hopes as well— learning to play the piano or violin, composing songs, writing novels, discovering a scientific breakthrough, inventing a new technology, influencing society through politics and law, becoming a local heart throb. Dreams where I woke up too late to turn into realities. Hopes that were never realized because I hoped too much when I should have stepped.
Adulthood is not about growing wings, but learning to live with the wings you have — whether it lacks a few feather; might have a broken, dislocated or under-developed bone or two; or simply accept that maybe, your wings were not designed for flight at all.
Because adulthood is not the age to dream or hope. It is the time to wake up and make things happen.
It does not mean we should abandon our youthful dreams and hopes. Rather, it is that defining moment when we need to start filtering our childish whims and fantasies from what our true goals and plans in life are. Because throwing away our youthful past leaves us with no foundations for our growth into adulthood to be built on. Yet, establishing a good infrastructure is never about the quantity of pillars, but on the quality and strength of each pillar, as well as on how well-placed they are.
We’ve dreamt enough. We’ve hoped enough. We’ve grown enough.
The wing test is over.
Fly. Soar. Glide.