“Congratulations! You’re officially an adult! You know how to cope with all the things now!” said no one ever.
Adult. Ha! I’m nearing forty and in my head I still feel like a teenager, continuously unsure about all things, afraid to say the wrong things, playing it all by ear and making it up as I go along. But, to the rest of the world I’m a full-fledged adult. Heck, I even have people that look to me for advice, mentorship, and help.
So, I guess it’s all about perspective.
A little bit of background…
I’m a husband of an amazingly supportive woman whom I don’t believe I deserve, but I’m never going to let go. We both work ridiculous hours. We own a dessert shop that does everything from geek-themed chocolates to custom cakes that require power tools, homemade ice creams with flavors like Droid Tracks and Avocado Strawberry to plated desserts like Crème Brûlée and Piecakens. On top of that my wife works a fulltime job as a mental health counselor and I created a non-profit to assist other small business owners. We have two kids, one entering high school, one nearly in middle school. At the end of our work days we seek the refuge of the couch and comfort, and try and balance quality time and relaxation, cleaning house and recharging our batteries.
And we’re tired. Pretty much all the time.
No, seriously, like ALL THE TIME.
But, and this is the key to it all, we’re happy.
No matter how tired we are, we’re pretty much one of the happier couples I know.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have more time to spend with the kids, have more money in the bank, take more vacations, lose 10 more pounds (okay, maybe more than 10), spend more time volunteering, doing more things to change the face of our town, our state, our country, the world…
But, I’ve learned that while the desire for “more” is real and acceptable, it’s what you give up in the struggle for it that matters.
I see friends and family post about how “adulting” is hard, how it’s horribly difficult to try and keep your house immaculate, how there’s never enough time after running one child to band and another to drama, or how there’s never enough time to do the things they want to do. And then, two hours later they post about how they’re relaxing and watching the latest series on Netflix or reading a book, or posting a picture of an incredible meal they either made or are enjoying at a restaurant, or they’re out with friends at a concert or bar.
And it becomes clear that the issue isn’t about how hard it is to be an adult, but rather the fact that we now live in an age where we all realize that there isn’t a point where you are mystically taken aside and told that you’re now an adult. We all grow up seeing our parents navigate the world we’re now a part of and we don’t remember the conversations that happened with lines like “Honey, did you pay the electric bill?” or “Dear, did you pick up the milk like I asked?” But those conversations have happened forever. The first couples in caves probably had talks about whether they remembered to go hunting or who’s turn was it to tend the fire.
What’s changed is the perspective. We’re now able to see people having the lives we wish we had 24-7 and we assume that they MUST know something we don’t. We can see our childhood friends post about the great things their children are doing, our neighbors posting about their trip to Aruba, or our friends posting about self-care or going out to eat every night of the week, and we think, they must have it so much easier than I do.
But, the truth is that, as a whole, we have it easier than any other generation. Sure, we have challenges that have never existed before, but we have more options and activities in our lives than ever before as well, and more freedoms and choices opening before us every day.
So, why is being an adult considered harder than ever? Because we lose perspective. Rather than focusing on the little moments that matter with family and friends, we are constantly seeking “more.”
Want the key to “adulting?”
First, stop referring to it as “adulting.” It’s being an adult. And that means taking responsibility. Don’t be afraid to make the big decisions that matter, like ordering a pizza because you’re far too busy to make a full meal. And an adult won’t feel guilty about it.
Second, feel free to let some things go by the wayside. I’m a firm believer that a messy home means a loved family. Sometimes it’s more important to spend some quality time together and make some memories rather than worry about the little details.
Third, and perhaps this is most important, stop seeking the “more.” That doesn’t mean to settle for what you have. That doesn’t mean to stop trying to make the world better. It means that if you take a moment, look around you, and take in all the things in your life, you’ll probably be overwhelmed with the “amazing” happening in your life already. Finding those moments in your life will allow you to find your center and truly be happy with where you are. Once you’ve found that happiness, then you can recognize the things in life that do need attention and even try and change them.
You know, like an adult.
Interested in writing a guest blog for The Newbie Nesters? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!