“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. -Brené Brown
“Adulting is the persistent act of taking responsibility for one’s life.” My imagination uncovered this definition while procrastinating on my couch, preparing to enter a water-slide like parade of dark descending thoughts about how unproductive I’ve become. I was fascinated with adulthood and how my peers and I varied in the way we approached life. I am silly, goofy but on paper I am a responsible adult. I own adult-like things, I have an adult-like career, I travel and so on. So why didn’t I feel entirely like one?
What it means to be an adult has always been a topic of interest to me. When I was a little girl I was often directed to: observe adults’ orders because they knew best, listen to my mother because she paid for everything and supplied basic needs, respect adults merely because of their age. And yes, the aforementioned has it’s place in time yet, what I was not taught about adulthood was the value of being accountable for my own actions. Adulting was merely going to work, paying bills and experiencing life in ways that was not made available to me merely because of my age. I assumed, when I became an adult I would have figured out what life symbolized. I would have answers to all the questions just like the adults in my life did. I would live on my own and eat all the grapes and drink all the orange juice without having to leave some behind for family. I could go out without needing permission and play with any friends I wanted, HMPH! So now I’m an adult and I am feeling more confused than when I was a little girl. More lost, more out of control than my wild party days. According to law, I am an adult, I pay bills, I eat what I want when I want providing my budget includes it. See, my lexicon includes things like budget, mortgage payments, interests rates and such, but none of that made me feel like an adult. None of it mattered on an intrinsic level.
An example of Adulting attacked me when I was discussing my parents. (Yes it was an attack, epiphanies don’t usually softly and lovingly caress my cheeks they violently smack me until I submit.) I recently had dinner with my sister and father. My father is attempting to rekindle a relationship with his daughters after being absent for decades. He was not around due to his own cowardice (his words not mine) and now he is making strides to forge a relationship with his daughters. He did not blame my mother (anymore) he recognized he made the decision to raise some and not ALL of his children. Maybe he felt the pangs of leaving behind two beautiful babes that strongly resemble him or maybe he is in his final stages of life and seeking to make amends. No matter the catalyst, here we are at dinner awkwardly seeking to make our tomorrow better than… you know the rest. Here he his regretful for the trauma he caused and grateful for a second chance.
I was asked how the dinner went and my reply was: “I barely know him, but I suppose he’s trying. He is around and making himself visible, accessible and willing to be there as a father.” The coward (again his words not mine) may still reside in him but he is fighting the urge to allow that weakness to take precedence. He is “Adulting” If nothing else the dinner taught me to understand my father is no longer hiding from his decision to un-father his totally awesome, creative, witty, hilarious and brilliant grown daughters. And as a by-product of his current actions, I learned where I failed to adult in my life. Where I have repeatedly DECIDED to run from my healing, run from love, self-love included, run from anything requiring more responsibility than I wanted to give. Adulting.
Adulting. It is not an age notifying the world when we can vote, drink, drive, have sex, rent a car or destroy our bodies with nicotine. In fact many countries/traditional practices differ on what age a person becomes an adult so we cannot rely on a number to proclaim maturity. Adulting is accepting accountability for the decisions we make in life. Adulting is a personal choice. I see the value in adulating now.
“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” George Bernard Shaw