12 Lessons of Adulthood

The job of being an adult – a REAL adult, not a big person who still acts like a child – is the most thankless, grueling job on the planet. No other task or responsibility equals it. Not parenthood, not CEO of a multi-national company, not emperor, not president. Nothing. Adults have to do without, follow rules, endure humiliation and doubt, put up with more than they ever thought they could endure.

There are upsides, sure, as there are to every situation in life: you can drive a car, rent hotel rooms, drink delicious cocktails, and… hmmm. I’m sure there are more but I can’t think of any right now. Bummer.

Anyway, along my own path of adulthood, I’ve learned some things that, when I manage to remember them and keep them before me, help to lift the burden of dreary responsibility. Hope they help you keep some perspective and find the fun side of life as well.

1. Love intentionally, not self-consciously. Love in all it’s forms takes work. No matter what we might want, other people simply do not behave as we would wish. Often those we love become people we don’t like. In those times, it’s important to remember that love is not a state of mind. It’s an action, a verb. That doesn’t mean hounding people who don’t want to love us back. It means simply loving other people and ourselves in concrete, unapologetic ways.

2. Good music makes even the most unpleasant task bearable. You get the right tune playing and suddenly vacuuming your carpets is akin to playing a sold-out arena size concert.

3. Be a filer, not a piler. This is something I struggle with constantly. But the old adage holds true, “A clutter desk is a cluttered mind.” Invest in some sort of filing cabinet and keep an organized system for papers and such. Of course, I HAVE a big-ass filing cabinet and I’m still a disorganized mess. But maybe you will do better than me 🙂

4. Take no prisoners – especially yourself. This lesson has two parts: a) do not hold on to people who want to leave your life; their dead weight so cut them lose and b) do not hold yourself hostage to guilt, regret, or anger. Seek forgiveness for wrongs you’ve done and give forgiveness to those who wrong you (even if they don’t deserve it).

5. If you don’t want to be treated like a baby, don’t act like one. This one’s pretty self-explanatory, right?

6. You are the only one who cares if your purse and shoes don’t match. I tend to get caught up on insignificant details. Details no one else cares about – or even notices – except me. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go (and no, I am NOT channeling Elsa from that wretched Frozen movie).

7. No regrets – everything that happens, happens for a reason. Think back on the bad things in your life, even the worst tragedy. There has to be at least one small GOOD thing that came out of even the worst situation. Think hard and be honest. A lesson, a new friendship, a renewed self-reliance. SOMETHING.

8. You are the only one hurt by your bitterness. As Joyce Meyer said, “I know from personal experience how damaging it can be to live with bitterness and unforgiveness. I like to say it’s like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die. And it really is that harmful to us to live this way.”

9. Facebook and Twitter accounts do not define how well you are loved. There’s a disturbing trend in today’s world to base our self-worth on how many Facebook friends or Twitter followers we have. We judge our posts on how many people “liked” or retweeted them. I’ve done it myself. I feel a great deal of disappointment when the stats for this blog are low. But I, and everyone else, need to wake up to the fact that Facebook, Twitter, and all other forms of social media are illusions of life. They are not real and they do not make US more or less real.

10. It’s not a crime to say “no”: Never be a “yes man”. Not to your kids, your spouse, your friends, your family, your boss. Say “yes” only to what you can wholeheartedly agree with. Never let your “yes” be a surrender. Make it the prize for which others strive.

11. “Sexy” and “slut” do not go together. To my mind, there is no such thing as a sexy slut (whether male or female). If you prize your sexuality and your body, then show them the proper respect of being mindful of their health and value.

12. There is a beginning to everything and there is an end to everything; nothing is permanent. If you are living in the golden light of success, remember that Rome also fell. I don’t say this to take away joy or rain on anyone’s parade. I say it to encourage everyone to enjoy what they have. Love the people within your reach as fiercely as you can; treasure the accomplishments you’ve created for yourself. When those people and times and things are gone you’ll know you appreciated them and never took them for granted. If you are in a bad time, keep going. Everything ends, even the horrid, frightening, nightmarish circumstances in which you find yourself. And when those bad times end, don’t keep living in them through memory. Let it go and walk away. Their reality has ended and your new life just begun.

 

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