I hear this phrase a lot- “Grow up!”, “Get over it!” and it seems invalidating sometimes. Yes, for many of life’s disappointments and setbacks, we do need to just get over it and move forward. Simple, yes. Easy? Not always.
I’m the baby in my family. I’ve also always been pretty small for my age, so doubly the baby in the family. I’m realizing how little responsibility I had to take for, well, anything growing up. Someone else always had a map and told me where to go. I’m a pretty happy follower. No one wanted me to worry about anything or stress out too much. I believed in a happily ever after.
I truly, truly believed that being an adult was this magical place of no worries where everything is perfect. Going through school, a new grade each year, elementary, middle, high school, then college. There was always something new coming, something next, something better.
When things were especially dark for me in high school, I just had to look to college to hope for a better place. College was certainly a better place, in several regards. Then I graduated and moved to a new city, and served two years with AmeriCorps. Now I’m here.
Here we are, in six months I’ll be 25… and I am utterly confounded by all this “being an adult” business. This is not a special situation, nor am I unique in my baffledness. Still. This transition for me is not only age-related but also psychological. How do I take responsibility for myself and my life? How do I communicate directly? What does it mean to contribute to society?
What does it mean to be my own person? Sure, everyone’s unhappy, everyone hates their jobs (sometimes), everyone is seeking for things to be better… and I also know that right now is the only moment that matters. So says Avenue Q, “Everything in life is only for now,” and it’s true. Is this what being an adult is?
I have been so utterly disillusioned and it is painful– psychologically painful to realize that my idealized world is completely untrue. It is what it is. We grow. We experience. We love. We lose. We grow some more.
It’s kind of cool- and terrifying.
As someone who has always been a high achiever in nearly every aspect of school-life, learning a ton of humility now in realizing I am truly no better than anyone else in this crazy thing called life… and it’s all about the learning and growing.
So here’s where I am: a bit humiliated, disillusioned, and awake. Growing up is no laughing matter. I just never really pictured it would happen to me! Responsibility is a big word in my world these days.
I have no idea what I want to do with my one wonderful life, and I know there are so many incredible things that interest me and there is not one final truth to anything– so right now I feel a bit “stuck in neutral” while I try to make a decision.
Yikes. Being a grownup. What on earth is this. I feel like Hyperbole and a Half most of the time.
It’s okay. We’re all in this boat together– in some capacity, anyway. And sure, no one really has their shit together– so allow me to say, with absolute certainty, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING AND I FEEL LIKE A LITTLE KID WITH AN “ADULT” NAME TAG ON!
We now return to some deep breathing and relaxing….