I used to think that communication skills were everything. It was the one thing that I lacked. The ability to communicate face-to-face in a group environment. And it was something that I struggled in for many years upon graduation. I felt awkward and insufficient at networking events.
That’s when Toastmasters came to play and helped me improve what I considered to be my pivotal drawback. I am thankful for the years of support that this organization’s members has given to me. I’ve written in my blog countless times about the value of Toastmasters, and how it has positively impacted my life.
And back in my early 20’s, that’s pretty much all I cared about. About improving my communication and public speaking skills. I felt like once I get that down pat, I would be unstoppable. The world would be mine for the taking!
Now in my late 30’s, the world is definitely not mine for the taking. But I can say that my communication and public speaking skills have significantly improved compared to a decade ago. I still have my periods of anxiety and awkwardness, but I’ve learned to control them a little bit better and pick my spots when it comes to networking events. I’ve learned to be a bit more comfortable within my own skin.
These days, I’m still active in Toastmasters. Though I don’t find communication skills to be my primary “worry” these days. Now, it’s been replaced by a new so-called worry. The worry of growing up and becoming a full-fledged adult.
I remember back in the day, when I was a kid, my parents would just let me focus on getting a good education. About getting into a good high school and a good college. And that’s all I did every day. I had a one track mind and that was to succeed in education. Much like how in my early 20’s, I was focused on improving my communication skills, in my teens, I was predominantly worried about getting into a good college. About being a good student.
It’s a constant evolution. Day in and day out. And now in my late 30’s, I’m worried about becoming a full-fledged adult. About needing to take care of my mom and dad as they advance in old age. My mom got really sick over the weekend and was pretty much incapacitated for a while. I wonder if she got COVID, but we never got tested so we’ll never know.
Anyways, during this time, I had to assume the role of the leader of the household. To plan and be active around the house. To cook food, to prep the fridge, to take care of my dad as he is on dialysis. It’s a full-time work. And at this moment, I’ve gained a lot of newfound respect for my mom. For doing all the mundane things which frees up time for me to pursue my hobbies and interests.
But the next stage in my evolution is to simply become more of a full-fledged adult. To do more of the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, and all the prepping and the chores that comes with adulting around the house. I think that would be my next stage of growth. And my next “worry”.
Maybe worry isn’t the best word for it. It’s not a goal to strive for either. But it’s a progressive journey. One with its ups and downs. But one where I can develop hopefully good habits and progress day in and day out. I’m constantly thinking about my evolution. About where I am in life. What I have. And what I can improve upon.
I don’t want to be too obsessed with what I’m lacking neither. As that can also foster a sense of insufficiency. But in general, it’s good to know what you need to improve upon and do so. I was in a phase when I thought Toastmasters was the end all be all for everything. How communication skills make the world go round. And to some extent, that’s true.
But these days, I see the importance in the action of doing daily chores - from doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, buying groceries, and handling the everyday tasks of taking care of the family. Someday, if I have my own family, I think these are good tasks to grow accustomed to and have under my belt. And honestly, it’s a never-ending growth process. It’s something to cherish as well.
I wonder what my evolution will be after I enter into my 40’s and my 50’s. What will my life look like at that time? Maybe at that time, I will be more preoccupied with my physical health. Maybe that will be my new evolution when that time comes.
But for now, I’m simply focused on adulting. About becoming a more mature adult. About helping out around the house and taking care of my parents as they age. And honestly, I have my hands full. But it’s the right thing to do. And it is what it is. So, you got to do what you got to do, if that makes sense.
I hope that this stage in my life goes as fruitfully as my early 30’s and late 20’s. It’s the next step in my constant evolution. Because we as human beings are always changing. Our body. Our minds. Our ideals. What we deem to be important or not. It’s a constant flow - like the ocean. What I considered to be important in my teens is not as important as it was now that I’m in my 30’s. And I guess in a sense, that’s the way it should be.
So, appreciate the fluidity that is human life. And cherish what comes and what goes. Because the only thing constant in life itself is change.