Becoming One’s Own Mother and Father: The Difficulty of Growing Up

Leon's Existential Cafe

The most challenging aspect of individuation, of growing up, is the groundlessness breadth our feet, the fact that the universe, existence itself, doesn’t give us a blueprint for our lives; it’s our duty, and our burden, to create it for ourselves. And, that is absolutely terrifying! Jean-Paul Sartre called this existential dread: the fear of freedom.

As we get older and separate from our parents, we begin to form our own opinions, our own ideals, and our own core system of values, basing them, in part, off of the knowledge imparted to us by our parents, while founding them in our newly constituted abilities to reason; we decide what’s right and what’s wrong for ourselves, creating the cores of our identities. But, this is when it happens; it’s when self-doubt creeps in. At this juncture, we become aware of the groundlessness; we realize that our parents are no longer there…

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