An Ode to "Adulting": Growth
Look "kiddos" we're finally growing up. We may always be kids at heart, but it's become painfully clear to me that I am definitely not a child anymore. Attempting to understand how one moves from the juvenile territory of adolescence into adulthood has been a little challenging (and that's an understatement).
For those who aren't familiar with the term adulting here's a pretty good definition.
Do you remember the first moment when you realized "uh oh, I'm officially becoming an adult?"
Can you think back to the moment that it dawned on you that you were really growing up? It hits some earlier than others making the entire experience subjective.
I always thought that getting my first paycheque would be a good marker of adulthood. Haha, but that's far from true. I figured that making my money meant control over my own spending habits and choices that would be untouchable by the parental advisory committee (aka mom and dad).
Ha, but the naive thought couldn't have been more wrong.
After discussing this with some friends, we thought, maybe it's getting your license or buying your first legal drink...
But to be honest, those weren’t very symbolic markers of adulthood for me. Especially since both those acts can be done while still being ...well, young and dumb so to speak, haha. My girls and I laughed as we reminisced about the first moment we realized that our favourite T.V and music stars were no longer older than us. It almost felt wrong. We all found humour in the fact that we experienced a similar "omg" moment when realizing that Disney-stars that were half our age were already more successful than us.
Except, I guess that's not adulting, it's just feeling old.
So then what was my aha adulating moment?
For me, it was a time I got sick in my first year in university.
That's when it began to hit me. Dorm-life can be far from a dream on a normal day, let alone when you're battling the flu. I remember the hopeless feeling of knowing that there was no one to take care of me. All I wanted was to have my mommy or anyone bring me ginger ale, some soup, and tell me I'd feel better soon, but that was no longer the deal. This young fresh 17-year-old, who was so hungry for independence had to drag herself to the doctor, fill out paperwork, get some antibiotics and then drag her sorry-self to lecture.
I recognized that life had to go on, there were no more "sick days" and no one to take care of me.
Even though I had been straining my lungs coughing for over a week, with no one to force me to go see a doctor I didn't go until it got unbearable. Irresponsible and It was all on me. That was the turning point in my sick day story. Adulting for me began when I realized that there're some responsibilities that I'll never be able to escape. It was time to swallow the fact that living being independent meant that they're some things I was now completely responsible for- tasks that I couldn’t ignore.
Since then I've been digesting the fact that the volume of life's obligations will are only going to expand. Now, that's when I realized I was growing into adulthood.
All that being said this week's post is dedicated to some random insights that I've had on my journey of "adulting". Hopefully, they're things that we can all consider as we all embark on the inevitable course of growing up.
It's time to Stop insisting that certain conversations happen over 'text'
If you have something serious to say, I want to hear your tone, talk to you in real time, and be able to get a feel for the physical energy that is present during our conversation. I get it, people are shy. Deep, dread-worthy or potentially damaging discussion can be awkward. No matter how uncomfortable or difficult the talk may be, It shows a level of maturity to be able to sit through it in-person.
The real sentiment I'm getting at is that there needs to be some sort of foundation within our character. One that we continue to build on. As we mature, respect, demeanor, and training our brain to be courageous are things that we need to become better at. It's a little sad that being physically present in conversation is starting to be a thing of the past. Provided that it's possible, it shows initiative of a post-pubescent individual.
There's this little thing called common courtesy. It's waving at a familiar face with a smile. Saying please and thank you, holding the door open and now: being able to confront difficult and uncomfortable conversations face-to-face.
Effort, is enticing. Personally, there comes a point where the whole "I'll text you later" line is just not as cute as it was in high school. It's tiring.
I understand that growing up in the digital age makes negotiating some actions a little different. Online interaction can be great. Contexts like long-distance relationships; friends and family abroad make messaging the only way to maintain a connection. I'm talking about turning to a text because of fear or apprehension of face-to-face communication or because you're trying to be ambiguous. Please, I beg of you, if you have something important to say try your best to do it in person and to be direct. Meaning, eye-contact, face-to-face and no games.
We're adults now remember, so clearly, we don't have time to investigate a message is crafted with some underlying formula to get me to feel some-type of way haha.
Growing up means getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. To an extent, this requires a little transparency. Aka, in this case, we can't always let ourselves hide behind a screen. Maybe that's too much to ask, however, if nothing else it will mitigate the chance of miscommunication since the delivery of a message is direct.
Admittedly, I do not enjoy small talk. I've spoken about this before on this blog, but I think it’s tedious and, mostly just awkward. That being said, I have become rather proficient at it.
Because I've accepted the fact that they're many things in life that we're just going have to do whether we like it or not... but that doesn't mean we shouldn't give it our best effort ( or at least enough effort). There is a time and a place, where being good at small talk is necessary.
Cultivating this skill has taught me a thing or two.
Adulting has meant me often telling myself to "Suck it up, Samantha", because things need to get done whether I feel like doing them or not.
The point I'm trying to make here is that you need to put in the work to get the results you want. It' going to take some work to get a job, do well in class, eat healthily, do laundry etc..
Some things that seem meaningless actually have important effects. It's guaranteed that there's going to be things we have to master that we don’t want too. That could be anything from keeping a stable sleep cycle or mastering an area of study to help advance our careers. Even something so simple as asking someone if they're okay/ how their day is. Sometimes you just never know the impact an act will make until later.
The Rush to "Grow Up" diminishes
No need to start felxin' just yet.
As we grow up, I think a false sense that time is fleeting emerges in all of us. Many begin to look at life as a timeline; an hourglass that's running out.
Fortunately, we aren't actually wasting away any faster. I've reasoned that time appear's to progress quicker since we have more obligations to occupy the 24 hours we're given every day.
I developed this implicit feeling that time is escaping me even though I know I'm still young.
I guess you could say there's a transformation that occurs. Instead of aspiring to look ahead and grow up too quick there's a subtle shift that prompts us to reminisce more often- looking back.
What's interesting about the shift of added responsibilities is that it's both liberating and binding at the same time. Really, we're just exchanging different locks on the chains that control our lives. For example getting a credit card, makes spending easy but, budgeting and saving harder. Alternatively, less parental guidance means more liberty but more responsibility for the success and failure of our actions.
In elementary school, did you ever fantasize about the freedom you'd have in high school? Then when you got there I'm sure some of you reached a point where you couldn't wait until you graduated and ventured off to university?
We'd want to spend the weekend with our friends rather than our families, stay out late, instead of waking up earlier. We basically aspired to reach an age where we'd just enough freedom yet not that many responsibilities. Sigh...can you imagine that recess was dedicated time in our days to force us outside to run around and soak in some Vitamin D. Now we have to fight for time outdoors.
As much as liberty is great, there still some days I wake up wishing that someone could help me map out my life and point you in direction with assurance?
I'm sure some of you feel the same.
SO rushing to grow up is not all a dream now is it, haha. Some things are better sure, but others are different.
All I'm trying to say is; don't focus too much on growing up too fast, because some things in our youth will never be able to experience in the same way again.
Maintaining Quality Relationships Requires A COncious Effort
Closely relating to the previous point, a turn to adulthood involved me understanding how important it is to not take friends and family for granted. With age comes taking a better initiative to sustain relationships.
Proximity- that's the key difference I've found between friendships when you are younger. Most are maintained by naturally being around each other frequently. However, when you don't live under your parent's roof anymore, or see your friends every day at school, guess who's job it's your job to sustain that relationship?
Divergent schedules mean purposely organizing and staying committed to plans.
Besides, time, you realize that the quality of the time spent with someone is sometimes more valuable than the quantity. Those friends that provide you with the highest quality conversations and memories are the one you wanna keep for life.
Let me tell you- it's not always easy, but with effort and understanding from each party, it's possible. It takes a certain level of maturity and juggling to successfully balance the pursuit of higher education, professional and personal lives. Do your best to pay adequate attention to the important people in your life. I encourage you all to tell those around you that you love them, and when you miss them. If you feel like their slipping away fight hard to get them back because life can move quickly when you're focused on your personal grind.
The best way I can describe this entire process of growing into adulthood is like learning to ride a bike. The training wheels have to come off at some point, even if that means one at a time. By the time anything we encounter on the bike is based on the foundation of knowing how to balance, pedal, and use the brakes. Any additional skills are acquired through experiences, more learning opportunities and potentially a few crashes along the way.
Obviously, I only chose some points elaborate in full detail but, a few fast things also include:
Knowing when to swap a night-out for a night-in (trading booze for books so to speak).
Cooking at home more rather than eating out all the time (or at least attempting to).
Realising the extent to which your present-day actions can influence your future.
Figuring out that being healthy is important; becoming aware of effects of a good sleep, healthy eating, and staying active effects your mood and body.
Feeling pressure to get a job.
You start to understand stress, and mental wellness (whether you choose to acknowledge it is another story).
Remembering to make your annual own dental and doctor appointments.
Bank Account...nuff said.
Realizing that there's no such thing summer break anymore.
You start to constantly wonder how your parents 'did it/do it'.
Days off consist of sleeping and cleaning..maybe even for fun...and you're perfectly okay with that.
Realising that, even though there's a lot more learning to do there's just as much unlearning to do... and yes, it's confusing.
Let me add a point to this whole concept. Our parents may not admit it just yet, but, even grown-ups are still trying to figure out how to grow up. Most people are just doing their best to finesse.
I wonder if there'll be a point where we no longer describe ourselves as "adulating" and just call ourselves adults or. Either way, I think a key part of growing up is embracing the fact that we are getting older, and not being fearful of responsibilities, in a way that defeats us but drives us.
BUT, I'm trying not to think about that just yet since like I said- we gotta slow down! :)
When it’s all said an done, I deem that even adults can take baby-steps too right?
But that's just me,