I don’t like the term “adulting” although I am guilting of using it because in some joking contexts it just works and can be funny. In all reality, however, it’s a term I’m not particularly fond. And yes, I’m about to tell you why.
Everyone seems to have this idea about growing up. That they know what it means: “Oh I got my car serviced today! #adulting!” The truth is, that is just life. That doesn’t make you an adult. Which of course, brings about the bigger question: What makes you an adult? Our government, at least in the United States of America, says that at the age of eighteen you are legally an adult. I can tell you from experience that at eighteen, much like Jon Snow, you still know nothing, and are therefore not an adult. Now, again in the US, eighteen only gets you a lottery ticket, and in some states, they have even raised the legal age of being able to purchase cigarettes to 21.
So what makes you an adult? Does anyone have the answer to that question? Or is part of being an adult being okay with not always having the answers to life’s big questions? I don’t have the answers. Trust me. I wish there were some magical pill I could take that would enlighten me as to what I’m supposed to do with my life, why I’m on this planet, what my purpose is. Or do I? Maybe part of this great adventure is just living it. Perhaps, and work with me on this one, part of growing up, and being an adult is realizing that it’s okay to not have your life together every moment of the day. Sometimes it’s okay to fall apart, to take that moment on the bathroom floor with the water running to just sob and ask those existential questions. Again, it would be almost annoying to know all of the answers, part of what makes life worth living is remaining curious; and I’ve found that the more I surround myself with curious people, the more interested, and inevitably happier I become.
I have days where I feel like I know who I am. I will feel like I am finally starting to come into my own and that maybe, just maybe, I’m over the awkward hump. Other days I look around at a stack of bills, a list of things undone, my curtains shut against the light, and I wonder if it is possible ever to get one’s life together. I will say this: I’m someone people come to for advice, and I have no idea why. I just always have been. I have a lot of older friends who often ask my opinion about their lives and personal problems, and I give them my advice. Again, not sure why since I’m not a therapist, and I am in no way licensed to provide any information. They always tell me how mature I am for my age, how I’m such an old soul, and my personal favorite that I said the other day: that I’m “such an amazing vessel of wisdom.” What? What does that even mean!? I take the compliments to heart. Truly. I am highly flattered. Something weird always happens when I end up giving friends my advice though. I hear myself saying the words and my mind starts to scream at me “Are you listening to yourself? Are you listening to what you’re saying? LISTEN TO YOUR ADVICE! FOR ONCE!”
I feel like this must be a standard issue if Lewis Carroll wrote a similar quote himself. So is that it? Is that part of being an adult? Taking one’s advice? Asking for a friend.
I will say that during a conversation with my mother when I desperately asked: “What does being an adult even mean?” even she answered with “I don’t know, does anyone?” Probably not.
So, this whole concept of “adulting” really irks me. So you lived your life like a million other people did today and do every other day? Good for you. And if you didn’t ‘adult so hard’ today, that’s okay too, because what does it mean? Even my computer doesn’t recognize it as an actual word. As far as I’m concerned, and granted, my concern may not mean a lot to you, what’s important is this: being honest with yourself. This past week I’ve had to do a lot of that. It makes for a battle bloodier than most Game of Thrones episodes between the head and the heart. I’ve also realized that sometimes your head and heart don’t have a whole lot to do with it, at times it’s a gut feeling. That gut instinct that a lot of us have that tell us this is right for me, or this is wrong. Listening to that is important. It’s important not to get caught up in the instant gratification of what might feel good at the moment, but what is good for us, what’s healthy. We know what it is most of the time, it’s just not always easy. No one said life was easy. Life, however, is precious. It sounds cliche, and it totally is, but finding good little things during a day can help you get through a bad one. No feeling is permanent, good or bad. So yeah, sometimes you get stuck where you feel like your life is that one episode of Friends: The One Where Ross is Fine. Just remember to use oven mitts when you’re pulling those very hot fajitas out of the oven, and I promise you really will be fine.