When is that process over? What does it mean? What are the elements that go into “building a life?” When we’re young it is literally about building… Building a body. Building a mind. Building values. Building friendships. Growing up. During this time, maybe the greatest lesson we learn is that it’s okay to fall. It’s painful to fall and scrape our knee, but once we learn to rise and walk again, we soon discover the pain goes away and we’re stronger for it. We’ve grown.
As young adults, or sometimes earlier, children are born, but that does not equate to “building a family.” That labor of love takes work and is too often derailed. Building a body can continue and depending on ones approach, that building process can be positive or negative. Career building begins, but not all vocations are a career and not all ladders are worth climbing. (See “building a family”) With the advent of work, building for retirement and building bank accounts begins…or not. Sometimes we choose to build those things for the local liquor store owner or drug dealer. That choice will impact whether building of the mind continues, or if the inevitable deterioration begins earlier. As we exit this stage and move into “middle age,” (By the way, how can we really know the middle until it’s over and we do the math?) we’re lucky if we have a few true friends. Most will have many acquaintances we’re friendly with.
Where I am, somewhere probably past the shadowy middle (I don’t know if I will or want to see 94, but I may feel quite different about it when I’m 93…) is a good place. I’m still focused on and quite busy building a family, and I’d still consider building on an addition if I felt it would strengthen the original foundation. Part of that building involves teaching my children the values I’ve built. Overall it’s going well, but in the course of any building projects, there are bound to be some industrial accidents. We try to learn from those and not repeat them. While building a body can continue, especially with the miracle of HGH and cosmetic surgery, I’m for the most part in active preventive maintenance mode, doggedly pursuing consolidation. Body and Mind. Or is it Body and Soul? My mind is in a constant state of renovation, but sometimes I feel like it’s run by an early version of Windows, occasionally freezing especially when it’s attempting to perform voice processing with an attractive female. Maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Soul. Hmmm… Isn’t there a rule about never blogging about politics or religion? No? OK, well, let’s just say I can “feel it” when I hear Al Green sing “Let’s Stay Together,” so I know I have soul. As for friends, I have a few and many more social or professional contacts. My friends have my confidence and trust, and I have theirs. That’s the difference.
So, where do we grow from here? Am I still building a life? Yeah. I recall seeing an unfinished Michelangelo at the National Gallery in London. I found it was amazing to get an insight to how the man constructed a painting. How he built it. I think I’ll always remember it and it dates back to around 1497. I guess ones success in “building a life” is measured by their impact on others… and that can go on forever. Now get out there and have a positive impact on someone today… or start a painting… or a song… or a book… Just keep building.