I’m not sure when adulting became a word. It hasn’t been a long time. A couple of years maybe? When did we, as a society, decide that being an adult required a verb of it’s very own? It’s a little strange, but it perfectly describe what twenty-somethings do as they try to get their act together.
I’m now halfway through my twenties (woah) and I often don’t like adulting. Also, autocorrect keeps changing it to adulating. Apparently my computer doesn’t like it either. Back on track…paying bills and scheduling dentist visits and doctor’s exams doesn’t seem like much fun. Budgeting and forcing yourself to weekly call people who matter (even if they don’t necessarily call you) can be taxing. But the joys of responsibility supposedly make up for all that. My dad’s been telling me that for years. That if I would just get my act together I’d know the impossible joys of growing up.
I think he was right. No, it didn’t stick in my throat. My dad is right about a lot of stuff. When you are figuring out how to adult. How to be responsible and do all the things, it’s hard. You fumble around for a while. I’m closing in on almost ten years of fumbling (because Lord knows, I’m so not done learning how to do this yet). And I don’t think you ever make it.
My parents have been adulting now for a while. They do it pretty damn well. They raised four kids and aren’t destitute (WAY TO GO PARENTS!). They continue to help us all financially (yes, even the ones in China…thanks, guys) and they continue to doll out helpful life advice. Like, “Hey, you should learn how to budget. How can we help you?” And when you lash out and are all, “I DON’T NEED HELP I’M FINE HOW DARE YOU QUESTION MY FINENESS CAN’T YOU SEE ALL IS WELL OMG I’M DROWNING IN PROBLEMS HELP ME,” they step in and help. My parents are cool. But they don’t have it all together. They aren’t entirely proficient at it. They struggle. They adult with the best of them, but are still learning.
I guess my point it that it’s a continuous thing (like most things). We are constantly learning how to be better, how to do better. We never reach it. We never hit the adulting pinnacle. And realizing that, really allowing that truth to sink into your bones (because you knew it in your head, but maybe didn’t really accept it as an option in college), is a key part of the adulting process. So I’m at that point. I’ll be working on life and adulting for the rest of mine. I’ll be struggling to follow a budget and learning that bills have to be paid by the specific dates the bank wants them to be. I’ll learn to cook and carry packed dinners because I can’t eat out every meal and maybe in the process I’ll learn to be healthy because I can’t eat out every meal. I’ll eventually figure out how to work exercise into my daily life, because I’m having issues with that now and need to focus more on money (let’s be real) at this moment.
Take heart, dear reader. You aren’t alone in this quest for normalcy. You aren’t the only one stumbling through life, feeling a bit clumsy about money and awkward moments (like having someone pick up your rent payment. It’s weird for sure). You don’t have to go it alone. Look at your parents. Look at your friends. Everyone is struggling through the same as you. Some are a little more advanced, because they’ve been doing it longer. Some are naturals at adulting. Don’t hate those people, or be jealous. Be grateful that they don’t have those challenges and recognize that their struggles will probably be different from yours. Discipline is never easy and when you’ve mastered it in one area of life, you probably have another that needs tending. Be grateful that you are here, learning to adult and that now you have a verb to use when you need it. Language evolves and so do you. Embrace life. Adult. Just do it. (Totally stole that from Nike. #sorrynotsorry)