The urban dictionary defines Adulting as: (verb) 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.
So, adulting is the thing we all wanted to be when we were teenagers: a grown up. And it’s the thing many people post about NOT wanting to be or do on social media. Some days it’s definitely better to not adult. And then there are other things about adulting that are blessings – those valuable lessons we learn only through experience and the passing of time. The things you can only learn from getting out of bed on days you’d rather not, from pushing through heart ache because, well, you don’t really have another option, and from being responsible when it surely seems easier to be anything but. Yes, that is when the blessings of the grind of adulting show up.
Since I am now firmly planted at the later end of my 40s, I have many of these blessings of lessons that came from over 4 decades of living. The following are ones echoing in my head lately, mostly because of conversations with clients and friends. Hence, my need to share. Perhaps they will resonate with you too.
Life Unfolds Beautifully When You Stop Trying to Force It into Place.
I get exhausted thinking of all the striving, forcing, pushing, and achieving that occupied my 20s and 30s. I had to prove myself, show that I was as smart as my degrees said I was, create a life that was as “successful” as society said I should be… yep, exhausting. Don’t get me wrong – I still love to achieve and accomplish things, but only because I love what I’m doing, not because there’s anything to prove to anyone else. Today my life is much more about wanting what’s meant for me instead of forcing what is “supposed to be” (because someone else said it was). The fact is, if something is meant for you, it cannot miss you (as my mentor, Tosha Silver says), and those things that are not meant for you? Chances are you don’t want them in your life anyway.
What Other People Think of You is None of Your Business (and they’re probably not thinking about you anyway).
I probably repeat this one daily, if not out loud to another person then in my own mind, as a reminder. It’s so simple, yet easy to forget because…what will everybody think? What other people think of you is about THEM, not you. Other people perceive you through their filter, their eyes, their experiences. What they see and think has everything to do with them, and nothing to do with you. And, chances are other people are more wrapped up in their own worlds than thinking about you… just like the quote by Olin Miller says: “You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.”
PS – this also means that what you think about other people is about YOU, not them. Ponder that for a moment…
No Matter What Is Happening, It Will Be Okay
You probably have a track record of things working out okay for you, even the seemingly bad things. This is definitely one lesson that gets easier to believe the older we get. I tell my 16-year old niece this a lot, just like my dad used to tell me, “it’s going to be okay.” And, it really is. No matter how bad it looks in the moment, how hard it has been, or how awful it feels, you will be okay. It will all be okay. It may not end up as you intended or envisioned, but it will always be okay.
Nothing is Guaranteed or The Be-All End-All
There are a few things that become more obvious the longer we inhabit this planet: time moves fast, life is short, and nothing is guaranteed. That promise your friend made and forgot about? Those vows you said in front of 200 people? The promotion you were a “first in line for”? Yep, none of it is certain. And that’s okay, because, there is not anything in life that is the “be-all, end-all” of your existence. I had a hard time believing this when my college boyfriend who I was madly in love with broke my heart in zillions of pieces, more than once. I remember my sister and my roommate both telling me that he was definitely NOT my be-all, end-all. I clearly disagreed and was certain my life would end without him. It didn’t, and they were right – he wasn’t my be-all end -all. Nor was the career I thought I’d be in forever, or the first man I married, or my soul dog who I thought would live as long as me. Nope, none of them were the be-all end-all. And nothing will be, until it’s time for you to leave this earth. If you’re still here, chances are that, you (like me) have survived those losses you thought would be the end of you. And, you will likely continue to do so. There is always another turn to take, another opportunity ready to arise, and another blessing waiting.
There Are Always More Lessons to Learn.
I’m sure I’ll read back on these “lessons” in 10 years and laugh at how much I thought I knew when I was in my late 40s. After all, I thought I knew A LOT when I was 23. TWENTY-THREE. I also thought I knew so much at 35! Maybe I did, but I didn’t know as much as I know now, and that will continue for as long as we are alive. We always think we know so much, until we get older and learn more of what only life experience can teach us. And even then, there will always be more to learn.
So, tell me… what do you know…? What are your favorite “adulting lessons” that you can share? I’d love to hear!