More and more I feel like we, as a society, are collectively failing at adulting.
After getting back from an amazing vacation a few months ago, I realized that my day to day was sometimes completely void of any of the true joys of adulting (RE: Doing whatever we want because we can!). The only time I was really letting myself explore that part of adulting was on an extended breaks from all work related responsibilities.
That’s not the way life should be!!!
I watch my son struggle with the limitations of being a kid and I am reminded of what that felt like for me— a desire to be “older” so I could have “more freedom and more choices” to live life the way I WANT to live it! My own identity became so important to me, as it does for all of us (I am the main character in the movie of my life, duh!).
I built up this idea of “adulting” as some miraculous, end goal experience.
And as it turns out… adulting is so excruciatingly hard most of the time. So most of us just end up trying our best to be kids again. Which either goes tremendously well for us or not well at all.
How can we do it well? Surrounding ourselves with people who are absolutely joyful about their day-to-day helps. And seeing what they are doing differently. These people still have schedules to adhere to but also make time for self-care and space to process how they are spending their time. Time is spent connecting with others in-person and putting down devices for extended periods of times. Adopting these habits over the last few months has been so freeing for me.
And when we don’t do adulting well, we start to find a sense of control through routine (an illusion) and knowing you’re doing the standard things to maintain adulting in a certain way in front of certain people because of the certain groups you’ve fallen into over a certain amount of time. It’s super tedious and like a slow leak you don’t even notice until you realize you’ve attached yourself to these people and things in order to preserve an identity that you created in your life story, where I must stress again, you are the star! And keeping up with the Jones’ is literally exhausting.
So why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we create expectations and work towards goals in a way that leads to suffering no matter what? Because over and over again in childhood and in adulting, we are met with opportunities to see our experiences in a different way but we rarely step out of ourselves to examine our lives because that’s uncomfortable. It’s hard to be objective when looking at your own life, because this is the narrative you’ve been telling yourself and the best supporting actors of your life since the moment you could conceive the thought. This is our most deeply engrained pattern. And breaking it seems absolutely impossible.
But some folks do surprise us by breaking patterns. They end up with lives they absolutely love through and through. And those are the adults I’m interested in spending time with.
I find myself frequently asking the big question, “What’s the point of all of this?”
And no matter how long it takes me, I always arrive at the same point— “To love.”
To love when it’s easy breezy honeymoon-y.
To love when love is not returned.
To love when it’s painful and annoying.
To love when it’s messy and yucky.
With boundaries. Like, life experiences determined boundaries that indicate your love for yourself.
Knowing that love of self is not selfish or narcissistic. Self-love and care is necessary if we expect to truly love and care for others. Adults have heard this but so few of us actually put it into practice.
So go look in the mirror now and say, “I love you” as many times as you need to and then go out into the world and say it to everyone you come in contact with— through your words AND actions.
And build 15 minutes into your day to do nothing but sit and take in the majesty of your surroundings, no matter where you are. And take another 15 minutes later on to talk with someone and learn about them. And take another 15 minutes to do something simple that makes you smile or laugh. And make sure you MOVE for at least 15 minutes. That’s one hour of your day that could change your entire outlook on life. Seven hours out of 168 hours in a week. No matter what your life circumstances may be, you can certainly give yourself the gift of one hour a day.
And over time you may find more joy and success in your adulting experience.
I love you. Thank you for reading this and for being you.