“If you went back and told your 18-year old self, can you imagine?”
— an old friend’s thoughts when discussing my current #BloggerLife
It’s no secret to anyone who’s made it through high school—adulting ain’t easy. We’ve got bosses who don’t give two craps about us; consumer debt ’cause no one walked us through personal finance; shady friends, poor nutrition, and realising that it’s much harder to make your dreams come true than you ever thought before. We don’t know what we don’t know as kids, and though staunchly convinced things will get better when we’re old enough to do things our way, it’s a big, bad world out there, and no one ever really prepares us for it.
Reason #1—Because We’re Never Really Ready for the Bigger Box.
I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t go back in time to tell their younger selves the things they know today. It’s so much easier when you can measure your self-worth with letter grades and many of the people who matter most are all under the same roof… but things can change so quickly—and for many of us, they do.
33 years in, many would consider me a successful grown-up—I’ve got two kids, a spouse, and a roof over our heads. There’s the family car, my full-time job, and vacations throughout the year. I look good on paper with all the trappings of a well-to-do Torontonian yuppie—but there’s much more to adulthood than just bank balances and titles… the things that make us who we are.
I once read on Humans of New York, “We don’t grow up; we just grow older.” Relentless responsibilities. Endless expectations. Youthful naïveté keeps us from considering that we might not end up meeting our potential; the flashiest clothes, the biggest houses—we’re so distracted by what society tells us we need that we do the one thing we really shouldn’t… trade the boxes our parents and teachers put us in for bigger ones.
Reason #2 — Because You’re ALREADY Doing What You Should.
It’s said, “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”—a traditional Japanese proverb lauding conformity over doing anything that’ll make you… different. And I followed the script, casting my creativity aside to do what I thought best: working desk jobs; craving weekends for a marginal escape from the weekly routines; and deferring dreams to become the success my family always wanted.
But I couldn’t deny who I was forever—fearing waking up one day, wondering how I grew so fat, tired, and living in the lap of mediocrity with a good enough job, good enough family, and a good enough life… if living’s what you want to call it. I needed to feed my creative soul—to do things reflecting my most honest self… and that definitely wouldn’t happen by ignoring the inner child who was begging for attention.
Jessica Hische had it right—”the work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
The younger me could spend hours drawing away, letting his imagination carry him away and nothing stop him from stretching a hand to reach for whatever he put his mind to.
And in 2016? It’s time we get reacquainted.
The Last Reason—Because You’ll Get to Adulting When You’re Good and Ready… and Not a Moment Before.
Adulting isn’t easy, no—but nothing that’s worth it ever is.
Our lives are best lived when we find things truly worth fighting for, and had I told that to my younger self, I probably wouldn’t have listened. But this blog’s my way of rediscovering that truth, and while I hustle to make something of my creative self and be there for my family, it makes me wonder whether I’m finally creating the adulthood I’ve been searching for… not just the one I thought I deserved.
Growing up’s overrated, but it’s not all bad—with age and experience, I can look back on the moments that once felt excruciating, realising how they readied me to manage a lifestyle that’s rarely anything short of hectic.
No one can warn you about adulthood—we need to make our own mistakes. Travel our own paths. The older we get, the more we understand that it’s all about the journey—we’ll never reach our goals by taking shortcuts.
So no matter how you’re adulting, I hope you learn as you grow—it’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy to lose your way. It’s so easy to do things that don’t support our best interests that we should all work that much harder to spend time on the ones that do.
Go forth and adult—no one’s going to do it for you.
Until the next,