How long does it take to grow? The answer is forever, if you choose to.

My theory is that for many of us, the way of thinking that brings us to mid-life is not always the way of thinking that can take us where we want to go. Live long enough and you will learn there are different ways to grow, different ways to transform.

Consider the trees. Some might grow tall, straight and true towards the sun, unstoppable and with unchanging trajectory. Some still straight but with no idea which way their roots go beneath the soil. Some grow wild and unruly. Some will grow entirely shaped by the elements they face, windswept by westerlies until their canopy echoes the curve of the ridge top. Some will drag life out of stony rockface and make a rambling home there.

But if you have the desire and the commitment, you can choose the way you grow. You can learn how to learn and therefore how to transform. It’s a strange paradox that often once we have become what the world has demanded of us, we can begin the transformation forward to our truest selves.

How long does it take to grow? The answer is no time at all, if you know what you are measuring.

I count seasons and springtimes, moon cycles and sleepless nights. I know the time it takes to let resilience do its work on the way back from disappointment, I measure the slow creep of desire and how it unravels the truth from us.

How long does it take to grow? The answer is as long as it takes to tell the truth; about yourself to yourself and for yourself.

A gardener can take a bonsai tree and determine the final form it will take working with organic growth and guiding it with an artistic eye.

A designer will take elements of shape, weight, colour and purpose and bring these otherwise unrelated ideas together into a single, sometimes multiplying form.

We transform by design, taking lessons intentionally and unintentionally. Sometimes through learning how the world around us works and sometimes choosing who we are for the world.

Transformation is growth in a direction chosen by design. That direction shaped by insight and committed into action. Transformation is as simple as choosing to begin paying attention to the stories of change and growth around us.