There Are No Adults
I’ve had this overwhelming desire lately to be more grown up.
Here I am, in my late 30’s, and I’m constantly acting like a pre-teen. I’m crying for no reason. I’m getting upset. I’m losing my cool. I’m having all the “feelings.”
It’s kind of lame.
And I don’t think I’m going through menopause a touch early. Life has been happening and there have been some things that were tough for me.
There has been this social media craze as of late about “adulting.”
People don’t want to “adult” anymore. They just want to drink a bunch of wine and binge watch Netflix.
I don’t drink wine, but I fully understand the sentiment.
I keep looking at people who are older than me and wishing, with all my heart, that I could be mature.
When I was 17 I thought people my age were mature. But here I am and I feel like I’m barely hanging on. And oh my gosh, I really want a milkshake!
I was talking to a friend the other day and he said, “There are no adults.”
You look around when you are younger and you see the “adults” and you think they MUST have it together.
Obviously some people are irresponsible and silly. But you know the ones I mean.
The teachers. The parents. The stable, functional, ADULTS who you assume are not freaking out inside.
But then you get to be one of those people.
You’re freaking out on the inside!
You still don’t know how to handle life. All the problems are new all the time.
You may have mastered getting a baby to sleep or flipping pancakes, but you are still totally baffled when your own parent is at death’s door. How do you handle THAT?!
Or when your previously perfect child starts mouthing off and who knows what else.
And how do you handle it when your kids have a hard time with something? Who knew that this stuff would actually be harder than the 10 years you didn’t sleep?
Or the everyday drudgery of a stable adult life that makes everyone around you able to function and feel safe- It’s actually kind of hard to do, day in and day out.
It all feels like a sick joke.
You are the adult in the room. You are the one who has to handle this stuff. And just like there isn’t a book for puberty or middle school, there is no manual for this.
Despite your regular boring-ness and your bill paying and your insurance premiums and your worries about paperwork- you still don’t know what to do with half of the problems life throws at you.
My friend’s words- “There are no adults,” were perhaps the most comforting ones I have heard in a long time.
(I think he heard them from someone else, but I don’t know who…)
I had been going through life thinking, assuming, that the people that were older than me had it all together. I was pretty sure they had the answers.
I knew, without a doubt, that they no longer lost their temper.
I knew they were handling stuff. There were kicking butt. They were taking names.
They were, to use the popular (yet somehow annoying term), ADULTING successfully.
I think I was wrong.
Or maybe I am just HOPING I’m wrong!
It’s not just me who doesn’t have it all figured out. Being 37 isn’t a guarantee that you always know what to do and then successfully execute said amazing plan.
Maybe you hide it better.
(I’m not hiding it well.)
Maybe you pay your car insurance.
Maybe you get the kids to school (mostly) on time.
But that doesn’t mean that you don’t freak out on the inside.
In fact, it doesn’t mean you don’t freak out on the OUTSIDE.
We are all, no matter our age, probably in some kind of struggle.
The nature of life- the hard part, but the part that teaches us stuff, is that we are always being pushed outside our comfort zone. We are always given the unique opportunity to learn, to grow, to find some wisdom.
This doesn’t stop because you are middle aged. It doesn’t EVER stop. (Unless it stops at 38, which would be awesome.)
Hopefully we all gain some wisdom as we travel this journey. Life makes it hard NOT to learn some things. Hopefully the older we get the more understanding we have of the path we already walked. This should give us perspective and some good advice to pass on to those who are just lacing up their hiking shoes.
But the age, the learning, and the perspective, doesn’t mean that our current situation- the new ones that challenge us in ways we hadn’t been challenged before- isn’t really hard and different and overwhelming.
I hope I keep learning.
I hope as time goes on, that I gain greater self control and self mastery.
I hope I remember that things work out and freak out a little less.
I hope I act less like a spoiled child as I age.
But when I don’t meet all my own hopes and expectations, it’s pretty safe to say that I’m not the only one.
I’m in good company with a bunch of other adults who don’t quite know how to be adults.