Adulting: The Rocky Road to Becoming Grown-Ups

Adulting—or as I like to think of it, the ultimate case of the *Sunday scaries.*  There are a few points in our lives where we will more likely than not be hit by the Mack truck that is adulting. These times include going to college, living alone, paying bills for the first time, etc.  While these tasks line the otherwise free and vivacious life of an adventure-hungry young-adult, you can still have that optimistic, memorable world that you looked forward to since you were a kid.  So, if you’ve found yourself in an impromptu fit of anxiety recently, wondering if you’ll be able to do this thing called adulting, I assure you that you can.  Who knows, in 20 years or so you just might find yourself grateful to be going to the grocery store with your kids, happy to have pushed past this moment of fear. Becoming a grown-up can be a little messy, but I don’t think we talk about the prosperity, learning and unparalleled feelings of pride and independence that it entails.  Here are a couple of new ways to think about growing up… in a way that hopefully makes you a little less afraid to do so.

 Let’s start with perspective. People claim many different definitions to what it means to “be a grown-up.”  In writing for The Telegraph, Glenda Cooper describes it as “Taking your child to have a filling rather than yourself,” or “Looking out of the window as the rain pours down and instead of scowling thinking 'oh that’s good for the garden.'" While this might make you afraid of becoming your grandparents a little too quickly, what these both seem to have in common is an overarching sense of selflessness, putting something/someone else before yourself. While we may have had to do this in the past, it’s unlikely that our lives have completely revolved around others before—and this thought is a little scary! Instead of thinking of this as some kind of inhibition to your journey, think of it as wisdom, both of which you can learn from others and that you can share. 

Next, let’s talk about happiness. Our picture of complete happiness varies in the evolving stages in our lives, and thankfully so. What may appear to you as dull and irrelevant now, may just be what drives you in the future. If you have a nostalgic family like mine, you’ve likely spent some time watching home movies of your childhood where you were surrounded by the people you love. When you think of it that way, why be so scared to be the head of that household? To lead a similar life? Think back on the values instilled in you since you were just a little ball of energy running around on that TV screen and know that you have been given all of the equipment to build the next version of your happiness, one led completely by you.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, let’s talk about growth. In a world plagued by social comparison, it is so easy to feel like we’re not maturing as fast as the people around us, or that maybe we have too fast. The truth is, growth is a complex word because it can happen in absolutely any setting—triumphant, defeated, etc. The sooner we realize that our negative experiences are actually teaching us valuable lessons about ourselves and how to better deal with similar situations in our *adult* lives, the more relaxed we can be at the thought of messing up (a.k.a. being human). We’ve been implicitly and explicitly taught that the correct answer is vital, that we must be right, and that problems are a sign of incompetence. However, according to a blogger on wakeupcloud.com, “…that’s a normal response to have, because [we] haven’t traveled the path far enough to realize that it’s not about getting rid of problems.”  So then what’s it about?  In all honesty, we’ll likely be troubleshooting from here on out, whether it’s paying the water bill on time, or figuring out what order to conquer our to-do list when we get off of work (pick up dinner, wash the car, then go to the post office…or the other way around?), so maybe it’s about realizing that our problems/inconveniences will be an ever-present part of our lives, so we must learn to take them in stride and accept them with a face of ambition instead of weariness. Your growth isn’t just your victories, it’s those everyday moments in between that build your character and simply make you grow.

So while the thought of growing up may give you the chills right now, think back on all of the good times you had growing up, whether that was opening presents on Christmas morning with your siblings or watching your parents dance around in the kitchen on a random Tuesday night. I hope that you’re excited to get to create that little world for yourself soon and that you now realize that all the glorified negatives are only a small part of an otherwise profound, insightful story.

Image Credits: Gif1, Gif2