The irony of this post I’m writing never fails to escape me. In many respects, I consider myself to be an adult. I work full time and am financially responsible for everything I want and need in my life, among many other things. In many other ways, though, I know I am missing several screws in the ideal “grown-up” persona. I don’t own a car, for starters and will try to avoid ever purchasing one if I can. I still eat a series of dinners that are better suited for a 13-year-old boy, have never had a relationship that lasted beyond three months and I don’t want to get married. And yet here I am, writing up a rules guide on how to be a grown-up when most days it is a miracle if I can remember my cell phone and wallet in my purse.
Such is the way of being a young adult today. We’re exposed to so much and literally have the world at our fingertips, so to some degree we feel we are the experts at certain life circumstances. We have the rules. We created them (to a point). From work to relationships to education to blogging, there is some niche that we’ve turned ourselves into self-professed pros at. And because we know so much about this one… thing, we’ve become jaded with it. Depending on how faceted this sector we focus on is, it could continue to forever challenge us. Or it could grow stagnant and stop and from there on – the decision is whether or not to move on to a new idea or stay put in the cocoon of the familiar.
If it’s tougher than it seems, it’s because it’s life. What happens after high school or college or grad school is where the real learning starts. This is where you will have to make the real choices that forever affect you. There is no class in college called “Why Didn’t He Call?” or “Where is My Dream Job At?” or “I’m So Scared about My Wedding Next Month- Anybody Else Scared, Too?” I know for a fact that if these courses existed, they would be insanely popular (I’d be enrolled in the former of the trio), but there’s a good reason why they don’t and should never. Every life experience is different. Every life experience needs to be different. And if they aren’t, then what will become of your ending? Will it be happy and organic, on your own terms or will it be the way that everyone expected you to turn out? I like to believe that the happy portion will win out, even though I know that isn’t always how it is – not for everyone because our lives and the experiences within them aren’t created equal.
Here are the rules though for growing up. They’re very simple. You probably already live your life by them. Maybe you don’t, not just yet, or are afraid to because of circumstance not allowing for it. If you can try to, by all means please do.
Laugh at yourself, laugh with your friends, your family, and laugh alone. Never take yourself too seriously because sometimes it’s more effort to be serious than what it’s worth.
I find it funny that the moment I’m absolutely convinced I’ve wrung myself completely out of tears, more flow out and when I least expect them to. Just let it out and often. Bottling this sort of thing up can only result in ugly crying for several days on end and that’s the most painful kind of sobbing I can think of.
Growing up sucks! I would know. Millions of other guys and girls out there are in my boat and in all kinds of other boats that I don’t even know about. We’re bound to make it to where we need to get to, but first the oars are going to break or the map will get lost or the boat will spring a leak. Be upset for that moment, for what it’s worth. Write it, draw it, sculpt it, act it out. It’ll pass. In retrospect, it won’t look as bad.
(It goes without saying that when I say get angry, I don’t encourage physical violence either.)
Eat Something Delicious
These are the years of your life where your weight is going to be under fire and depending on what you do for a living, your career may shift depending on how many pounds you lose or gain. Diet if you must, but don’t say no to all of the tasty meals life has to offer. A good, solid dinner or lunch every now and then is more than just an instant comfort to the stomach. It’s nourishing for the soul. It can turn a bad, rainy day into a warmer, kinder one. And it’s a treat for the taste buds. Don’t forget about them. They’ll take homemade vegetable soup over dry lettuce leaves any day.
Smile! Go for a run! If you’re like me and don’t like running (and I’m being kind when I say that), ride a stationary bike or take a pilates class. Wake up in the morning and think not about what will go wrong or what you’re nervous about or overthinking too much about – tell yourself you can do it! Whatever it may be, push the negative thoughts away. Tell them to get out and focus on the good ones instead. Make a list of everything lovely you like if you can’t find any good thoughts. Your day may not be perfect still, but perfection is overrated. Trust on your intuition and sense of self to create a better day on your own terms.
And it’ll be a good day.