My whole life I have always been the girl that looked forward to growing up. I couldn’t wait to be done with school, couldn’t wait to meet the man of my dreams and get married, couldn’t wait to start a career, couldn’t wait to start a family, simply couldn’t wait to be a real adult. It always made me really sad when I would catch up with my (way) cool older real adult friends, and when I asked them how the adult world was, they would simply say “well it sucks”. I mean come on, how can being an adult suck? That was what I had been waiting my whole life for! So when my time to graduate and start my career came around in May, I promised myself I would never be the person, who when asked about the adult world, would say it sucked. That promise lasted 2.5 months.
See here is the thing, what they don’t tell you about becoming a real adult is the fact that when you get there, there is no going back. Everything seems shiny and new, until all of a sudden it’s not shiny and new anymore. The “gleam is gone” and there’s no going back. Our entire childhood our entire existence is consumed by school. We go to school year after year and we can not wait for summer to finally have a break. The catch 22 with adulthood is now our entire existence is consumed by work, bills, taxes, and major responsibilities, except there is no summer break, there is no end in sight, this is the real adult world and boy we’re sinking in it.
So now its the end of July and I find myself hysterically crying to my father about how this is not, and I repeat not, how I expected adult life to go. Where is the fun happy times you see in movies? Why am I so stressed out all the time? Yes I’m making money, but where is my free time to spend my well earned dollars? WHY did I get summoned to Jury duty after being a real adult for 0.5 seconds? (If you haven’t caught on, I was falling apart and falling apart fast). That was until my (extremely intelligent) father reminded me that yes, the shiny new gleam of adulthood had disappeared, but I could get it back, by making the daily choice to actively change my outlook. So thats what I did, I put on my big girl pants and polished up adulthood all on my own. Here are the top 3 things I have “re-gleamed”
Ok yes, I have no time to spend my newly hard earned dollars. However, I have a lot of college loans to pay off, and my lack of time to spend my money on things I probably (definitely) don’t need, means more time to learn how to save and manage my money. Something that I’m sure 30 something year old me will really appreciate when she isn’t still paying back her college loans and is actually remodeling that big old farmhouse she dreams about.
2: Being active in the community
I have always wanted to make a difference in my community but never felt I had the means to do it. Now that I have a real paycheck, I can put money and time towards charities and causes I’m passionate about. I’m no longer limited by my lack of funds or my time in school. If I want to try to start a new outreach to homeless shelters through my parish, why the heck not!
3: Being a better family member and friend
Becoming a real adult has #1 made me that much more thankful for my amazing parents who have guided me through so much. #2 made me a better sister, as I now live in the same city as my siblings and can go to every volleyball game or art show (that doesn’t conflict with work) to be a loud obnoxious cheerleader for my siblings. Finally #3 made me a less judgmental and more understanding friend. As stated above, I judged the crap out of people who complained about adulthood, but now that I’ve experienced it, I understand it. I have learned that I can’t jump to conclusions about experiences I think I know something about, but actually know nothing about. On the flip side, I can also truly understand when my friends go through the same adult struggles I’ve experienced and can just be a more effective friend and counsel for them.
So to my fellow twenty-somethings, heres to “re-gleaming” adulthood! May we always have courage and be kind while stumbling our way through.