What was it that made growing up hard to do? Have you ever thought about it? What made growing up hard to do was that the meaning of our lives kept changing. When we were young the meaning of life was given to us by a world whose meanings always proved themselves to be empty.
What we have called the meaning of our life has turned out to be the source of our pain so many times, that at a certain age we unknowingly say to ourselves, "I give up looking for any true meaning. Therefore I will make my own meaning, one in which I will never feel pain again."
So we unconsciously begin to isolate ourselves from Life itself, thinking we are protecting ourselves. We therefore become hard-hearted, suspicious and broken.
The meanings that we give ourselves are nothing but secret self-reference, which we are meant to grow up out of. Most of our time now is spent in self-referencing thoughts that supply for us the meaning of the moment, with us as the center of the universe.
All that our present mind can do is label a moment according to its past content. The Real Meaning of Life cannot be known by the thinking mind, but it can be lived in the present moment.