Why growing up is hard and why no one ever talks about it
I appreciate that this topic is fairly off piste, however, it has been on my mind as of late. Yet, growing up/becoming a fully independent adult can be very stressful and I talk about stress a lot – its short- and long-term side effects, how to manage it better through exercise, diet, and mindfulness, etc.
As a fully functioning, independent adult you are expected to do all of the following while appearing to outsiders that you have it together, completely:
1. Work a full-time job, pay your bills on time to ensure that you maintain an excellent credit score. As a teen you were probably unaware of what a credit score was. Now it keeps you up at night.
2. Transport yourself to and from the job via some sort of machine. Your own two legs is of course, acceptable if you work within 2-3 km of your office.
3. Eat. Most of us know how to do this, but as an adult you now have to plan your meals, purchase the food to make the meal, make the meal, eat the meal, clean up after the meal and then prepare for your next meal. If you have kids this is 10x harder as you may need to prepare separate meals for each child and/or yourself. And to make it even more of a challenge, you’re expected to eat healthily which, as most fully independent adults will know, costs WAY more than eating KD, popcorn, and Pizza Pockets. If you choose the latter foods, you are likely to gain weight, feel like garbage and eventually have to spend money on improving your health…
4. Clean. No, not just your bedroom. As a kid/teen cleaning your bedroom seemed like the biggest accomplishment and you even got a couple of bucks for it. Now, you get to the clean the entire house for free. Yippee!
5. Dress yourself. Most of us know how to put on our undergarments, pants, a shirt, and some socks – fairly straightforward stuff. Well, if you’re working, you need work clothes. And work clothes typically require dry cleaning, hand-washing, or some other laborious cleaning method. Don’t forget about your non-work clothes as they require washing as well. Nobody likes a stinky Sam.
6. Maintain your personal hygiene. This ties in with the Stinky Sam concept – you need to shower, every day. Showering and getting ready for your day is not much different from when you were a teen so this shouldn’t be too intimidating a task. It’s just that when you’re a teen you’re obsessed with looking good and you don’t mind spending time in front of the mirror. As an independent adult and potentially a parent, all you care about is getting enough mocha java in your system to make it through the day – hair done or not. Oh, and you have to remember to floss as your teeth are starting to decay. Gross.
7. Be healthy. You must also find the time to run, swim, play intramurals, meditate, eat nutritious and wholesome foods everyday, limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, etc., etc., etc.
8. Be nice to other fully functioning, independent adults. As an adult you cannot throw temper tantrums. You cannot yell at people in public. You cannot hit, bite, or kick others who are in your way. As a child such behaviours were still inappropriate, but typically brushed aside with a small reprimand. If you were to behave in such a manner as an adult (and I know you all want to sometimes), you would receive the Crazy Cat label and nobody wants to be the Crazy Cat. So while you may want to smack your coworker in the face and/or kick the person who butted ahead of you in the grocery store line, you can’t.
9. Appear to have it all figured out. On top of everything I have already mentioned, you must appear to have adulthood completely figured out. You do this by posting pictures of you and your friends, partner, family on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social medium you prefer. You display your amazing/awesome adventures for all to see, you talk about your recent awards, interactions, conversations. I do this and you do this. We all do this. We do this because we so desperately want others to think that WE are the ones to have it figured out, and yet we know that we don’t. But if we were to share that we don’t have it together, we run the risk of rejection, yes? And rejection, to any social animal which we humans are, is the worst punishment of all.
10. Find time for pleasure. There are some benefits to adulthood, don’t get me wrong. One of them is the freedom to choose what activities you get to participate in. As a child/teen, your mom or dad may have coerced you into the sport or activity of their childhood. You may have had to sing in choir with a bully for an instructor or take piano lessons from a lover of pot-bellied pigs. “Not anymore”, you shout. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to when it comes to activities for pleasure. This is one major bonus of being an adult. The only downside – you rarely have any free time to partake in such activities.
The take away message – try to stay a kid/teen forever. You will have regular access to food, not have to worry about making rent, and someone to do your laundry (maybe).
All joking and sarcasm aside, being an adult is tough, but we could all work together to make it less tough. We could talk to one another about the transition from teenagerhood to becoming a fully independent adult. We could be more open and honest about our struggles. It’s comforting to know that others are going through the same motions and emotions as you – that you are not alone on this journey into adulthood.