Adulting (v): to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (paying off that credit card debt, settling beef without blasting social media, etc). Exclusively used by those who adult less than 50% of the time.
Nobody talks about how hard it is to just exist as an adult in the world.
Everyone struggles with something.
E v e r y o n e.
Even the most privilaged people of this world. And sometimes just getting by feels like a full time job.
If you’ve got it all figured out, I highly commend you. If you always pay your bills ahead of time, never put off your doctor’s appointment, do the dishes right away, are a master of your accounting… that’s great! But if you aren’t nailing it on this stuff, I think it’s worth reminding you that life is a beautiful mess because it’s supposed to be, NOT because you’re a failure.
But yeah, back to this “adulting” thing. Have you ever asked yourself at what point this phase starts? Am I there yet? Does paying your own sh** qualifies as being adult? Definitely independent, but for some this comes with an early age, when they are just kids and most of the times it does not come by choice. However, some things do shift in our brain when we age. Our prefrontal cortex develops and we do change. The PFC is the part of your brain where all your rational decisions are made. The neurons in the prefrontal cortex communicate with the neurons in the other regions of the brain through synapses, thus playing a major role in weighing choices, controlling emotional responses and impulses, and making judgments. In adults, this region of the brain is fully developed and connected to the rest of the brain, but to reach this stage, it has to go through a looooong, drawn-out period of chaotic development that begins with puberty and stretches until the mid-20s.
So hurraaaay, I’m past mid-20s already, meaning my PFC is developed, meaning I already have entered this gracious adulthood, meaning I’m in this deep doo doo.
However… With adulting comes a lot of soundness and wisdom and that’s why I probably feel competent enough to share some of these thoughts that I’ve collected through the years with you…
1.) LONG TERM VISION BEATS SHORT TERM WINS
Short-term wins are great ego boosters. One-time gigs can be a good thing for your bank account, but if they are not contributing to your long-term vision for your future and the world you want to live in, they might deserve more thoughts. Sometimes we don’t know what the hell our long term vision is in the first place. But with every experience, relationship, job and opportunity we pursue, we can ask ourselves if that thing is aligned with how we want to be and/or the vision we want to work toward. This way of thinking allows us to say no to the wrong things and make room for the right things.
2.) MENTORSHIP IS INFINITELY VALUABLE
Sometimes I look back on articles on this blog (super good thing about blogging in general) and find it so funny how I wrote as if I had all the answers! I never had answers and I still don’t–– but this is the most comfortable I have ever been with admitting what I don’t know. As a recovering know-it-all, this feels really good and refreshing.
3.) PAY ATTENTION!
Look, you get a lot of clues in life if you are open to receiving them. Until this year I ignored the things that were right in front of me – signs that were all around me, all the time – because I thought I knew better! Noooooo. Things that are not for you will never be for you, no matter how much you try to push and pull and manipulate them. Things that are for you will always be. Stop trying to force yourself into a job, relationship or situation that isn’t working. Let go and see what flows instead.
4.) KNOW WHEN TO BE PATIENT
The best advice I got as a kid was “patience is a virtue”, advice that always fell on stubborn ears. I have historically rushed into things and wanted to see immediate successes, but there are some things that are really only good with time. There is no substitute for practice-makes-perfect or experiences in general, and you can’t get down on yourself for lack of results if you haven’t been actively trying for a while. So do your thing consistently over a long period of time. Know when to pursue something, but also be gentle with the process, and know when to be patient, and when not to be (standing up for what is right).
5.) RUN YOUR OWN RACE
How amazing it is that you will never be successful running someone else’s race? You will never be able to do exactly what they’ve done, because you aren’t them! How incredible is it that you have full permission to stop comparing yourself to anyone else, because it is actually 100% useless?! This one felt like unlocking a secret golden treasure room, one that I hope to return to whenever I need the reminder.
Your path is yours and yours only. Don’t know where your lane is yet? That is OK. You’re already on it, so stop trying to force it. Experiment with anything that feels exciting to you, and if you fall into the comparison trap (we all do), scoop yourself right back out. And as Jada Pinkett Smith stated, worry about BEING RESPECTED, not about being liked. Because that’s the trap and you don’t want to get caught in it.
I’m sure we share many of the same stresses and problems. And many of them are super trivial when compared to much of the world. But your problems are not trivial, so it isn’t fair to play the game of who has the most issues.
They are allowed to be valid. Just make sure to remind yourself who is in the driver’s seat, and take the power back.