why adulthood is hard (but also survivable)

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More of a serious post today than I usually do, but it’s stuff that’s been on my mind!

One of my all-time favorite books is Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. It’s one most if not all of us have probably read at some point, and, like other Dr. Seuss books, it manages to convey all sorts of deep messages through simple little rhymes. This page of the book, in particular, is one I think of often. Because, as it turns out, being a grown-up is hard. Being a mom has made me keenly aware of this fact, and never in my life have I felt so lost! Not necessarily in a sad, despondent way, but definitely in a how-on-earth-do-I-do-this-parenting-thing-right way.

But even apart from mom stuff, I’ve just been thinking lately about all the confusing, unclear, “darked” aspects of adulthood that have become more apparent in my life as I get older:

  1. You realize the people you always looked up to and trusted are imperfect and perhaps even totally wrong about major issues in life. Thus you question every decision you made with their advice.
  2. On that note, there is pretty much no right answer to any of your questions (unless you’re doing math problems or something). Many people will tell you with great conviction what they believe is the right answer, and it will completely contradict what another person tells you. All you’ll want is someone to tell you exactly what is best to do, but you have to decide for yourself. And you might be wrong.
  3. Degree in hand, maybe even several years of work experience under your belt, you suddenly become aware that present you has the primary responsibility for taking care of retired you. So you feel guilty about every dime you spend but also hold on to this belief that *everything will just somehow work out*—but secretly ask yourself… what if it doesn’t?
  4. Your kids’ future self-confidence, skills, academic success, and conduct will be heavily dependent on what you do now. While you’re sleep-deprived and unsure and stressed and trying minute by minute to do the right thing but often failing miserably. No pressure or anything, but don’t screw this up, or your kids will end up in therapy. Or jail.
  5. There are lots of weird, messed up people out there. And there are lots of people who would think you are weird and messed up.
  6. The whole world is falling apart! Death, disasters, deception—everywhere, all the time. It’s heartbreaking and unfair and seems to make no sense at all.

I would hate to end this without some hope, because I am a very optimistic person for the most part. So I guess these are the things that help me find the light in all this darkness:

  1. The knowledge that every human has had to face this uncertainty, and many manage to deal with it and come to the end of their lives feeling content and happy.
  2. Belief in a higher power who will eventually make everything right. Mostly just faith, but sometimes a stronger sense of peace. It helps.
  3. The realization that without the hard times, the good times wouldn’t feel so good. Opposition in all things, right?
  4. Knowing there is a lot of good in the world, too. A lot of selfless, kind, charitable people to balance out the selfish, mean, and greedy. Not to completely nerd out on you, but I’ve always loved this Gandalf quote from LOTR: “There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.”
  5. Feeling empowered by the one thing over which we always have control: how we respond to challenges. Even if you feel like life is totally a mess, turns out you can actually have a positive attitude. But it’s way easier said than done, I’ll admit that.
  6. Remembering that while it’s easy to feel alone in our fears and frustrations, there is always someone out there who either understands or wants to help. Sometimes you just have to ask. And other times you just have to offer.

And this is where I insert the “We’re All in This Together” video from High School Musical. Kidding! (But seriously, you can watch it here.)

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2 thoughts on “why adulthood is hard (but also survivable)

  1. I LOVE this post and this rings true in so many ways! Adulthood is complicated, dark and often uncertain especially with our economy being the way that it is. Recently, Mike and I took this character test together and I marked that I “often” feel worried about the future. Mike was really surprised and called me a worry wart but it’s true. I guess that I just need to have faith that after all of our work and effort things will work out. It’s hard to do.

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