Let’s face it – sometimes being an adult sucks. Adulting is hard and not as cool as it seemed at 15. We (I am hesitantly including myself in that “we”) are responsible for the world, and quite frankly we’re not entirely sure how to be responsible for ourselves. Days, weeks, months, and years fly by and you wonder where time has gone. It’s overwhelming.
My 31st birthday was just a couple of weeks ago, birthdays aren’t a big celebration in my family so they never were something that I thought too much about. We always had parties, special dinners and presents but I never felt the need for the pomp and circumstance of a birthday. For some reason, this year there was a lot more attention paid to my birthday than in recent “adult” years and concurrently, there was a lot more attention paid, by me, to the fact that I am another year older and have officially crossed over into adult-land. At 31, there’s no turning back.
I’ve gone through several situations in my short life that have forced me into premature adulthood, and quite frankly, I have always felt older than my actual age (what I call: old lady tendencies). However, my lack of a desire to hang out at the club with young whipper-snappers never actually prepared me to be a productive and participatory adult in our society, never mind the emotional toll that a daily routine can take on a person. Previously, my life was served to me in chunks.
Elementary school, 7 years.
Middle School, an inconsequential 2 years.
High School, 4 years.
College, a false sense of adulthood in 5 years.
After high school or college you’re supposed to go out into the world and build your life. I did that. I’d say it took me about eight years to really build the start of a career for myself, to better understand what it means to be a wife, how to make mature decisions in relationships and conflict, how to live in the moment (as much as a control freak can), and to realize that my parents really were right all along. So…
Figuring out the world and building a foundation for a career, 8 years.
For someone who really has no desire to go back to school at this point, isn’t planning on having children, has a job in the field of their choosing, has gotten married, and figured out how to share their life with another adult, what’s left? What’s the next chunk?
I’m open to suggestions, but my best assumption is working on the person you are, as an individual and have fun living the life that you’ve spent all of your “chunks” creating. Instead of focusing so much on how to adult, focus on having fun, learning, laughing, embracing the little things in your life and take care of what you can, when you can.
To be clear, I am not telling people to forget their adult responsibilities, adulting is important and, quite frankly, someone has to do all of the adult things but don’t forget about being the person that you were during your chunks before adulthood set in. Just be mindful that breaking your leg while climbing a tree or showing up to work in your outfit from your wild night at the club might set off some alarms with the other adults around you. Be responsible. Pay your bills, pay attention to the news and your community, eat your vegetables, read books, don’t be an ass on social media, but maybe you throw some hot chocolate in your coffee mug when you want to remind yourself to be you and have some fun!