Growing Vs Expanding

It’s no secret your twenties are about growth, finding yourself, and learning to live on your own terms. The idea is to experience enough in your twenties that you’re ready to make better decisions once you hit 30. I’m no different. During my twenties I learned so much, I thought I learned it all. In fact, I remember thinking on my 28th birthday that I was set and not far from accomplishing my preconceived ideal life.

You see, at 28 I was in a serious relationship, had a decent job (with benefits, chile), had just bought a new car, and was on track to go back to school and finish my degree the following year. I was under the impression that I understood my desires and knew myself quite well, and in my mind, I was walking and moving through life with ease.

Photo by Aaryn Muhammad of ARYxGOLD FRAMES PHOTOGRAPHY

Things were good—er actually, things were blissful, but as the old adage goes, ignorance is bliss.

Somewhere between 27 and 30 I regressed. If I’m being completely honest, I grew comfortable in every aspect of my life. Now, you may be asking, how does one “grow comfortable?” Isn’t that oxymoronic? Well technically yes, but let me explain. Once I realized I was obliviously on the well-constructed path I curated for myself, or in other words, settling for living in ideal scenarios and social constructs, I let myself slack.

I stopped being active and eating healthy because I was good with how my body looked.

I stopped saving extra money because I already established a savings account.

I stopped applying to jobs because I was content with the one I had.

I stopped actually dating my boyfriend because we moved in together.

Photo by Aaryn Muhammad of ARYxGOLD FRAMES PHOTOGRAPHY

I outgrew my surroundings and found comfort in complacency, and truth be told, I liked it. I enjoyed the leisure and the lack of pressure, so much so, I began to grow in the wrong direction and instead of continuing to grow up, I grew laterally. I expanded. That’s cool for like businesses and stuff but people are more like flowers. People aren’t meant to expand, we’re meant to bloom. Bloom and grow forever.

I know what you’re thinking, “…but Ari, expanding is a positive thing…” –you’re right. Initially expansion sounds like a goal. The problem is expansion only occurs once you’ve oversaturated the current market. When we stay stagnant during seasons of growth, we expand in places that might work but aren’t necessarily the best or most fulfilling. When we expand and the world around us continues to grow, it’s only a matter of time until reality kicks in, and the missed opportunities, or regrets, are clear.

Life has a way of putting us in autopilot and just going through the motions. Now, with the pandemics of Covid-19, racism, and capitalism surging the streets, these cravings for complacency are stronger than ever, especially for Black women—we need a break. We need refuge—and rightfully so, we deserve comfort.

Photo by Aaryn Muhammad of ARYxGOLD FRAMES PHOTOGRAPHY

While I encourage you to take breaks and find joy in little, everyday moments, I urge you to find a lesson that inspires purpose. Keep growing, sis.

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