What “Adulting” Really Means

I am a little behind on my writing. The last couple of weeks have kind of been a whirlwind, and I have not had a lot of time to do anything except be on the go. I have been thinking all day about what this post should be about. I thought about writing something relating to the new year, but it seems like everyone is doing that. Instead, I will just write about what has been running through my mind over the last week. One word, that’s not really a word, keeps running through my head – “adulting.”

We all know the term. We use it in different ways. Maybe we are twenty or thirty-somethings that are proud to be “adulting” in some way.  Perhaps we write a Facebook post explaining why we can’t “adult” today. I think we typically equate this term with social and financial obligations. Did you get up and go to work? You’re adulting. Pay your rent or mortgage? You’re adulting. Prepare your own income taxes? You guessed it…..adulting. The way I have been thinking about this phrase relates nothing to finances, taxes, or any other responsibility; it relates to the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes that come with getting older. Sometimes these elements bring joy, and sometimes they are pretty painful.

Many of you know that my grandfather passed away last week. Last year, my grandmother passed. It’s a rite of passage, I know.  We would all assume that our grandparents are going to pass away before we do. We expect to grieve them at some point during our lifetime. My grandparents were very important to me. Visiting them as a child was a refuge away from what could be a very chaotic home environment. My grandparents listened to me, consoled me, and never judged me. When I got into my later twenties, I moved away and it was hard to see them as much. I absolutely hate that I couldn’t spend the time that I wanted to with them over the last several years.  The truth is, when my grandfather passed last week, it felt like a part of my childhood officially died with him. A part of me will never be the same.

Adulting. For me, adulting is made up of the changes that we have no control over. People age and people pass. In my younger years, I had the ability to take each day as it came and not plan anything. As an early twenty-something, I could easily live paycheck to paycheck and work a productive 8 hour day on 4 hours or less of sleep. Today as a 34-year-old, adulting is stressing about the longevity of my job. I can barely function on less than 8 hours of sleep.  Ten years ago, I would tell people that I NEVER wanted to have kids. The thought of it absolutely repulsed me. Today, I am almost 3 years into the most gut-wrenching infertility treatments that have yet to provide a child. Adulting for me is a combination of realizing what the important things really are and evaluating the foundation and structure of my life over and over again.

Adulting is change.  Adulting is doing the next right indicated thing, even if you don’t want to. It is finding a way to process grief, but also accept life for the way it is. It’s realizing that every day is brand new, and no day will ever be the same.  It’s finding the ability to find joy in even the small things.  It has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with mindset. For the last few years, I feel like I have REALLY been adulting. At times I have been happy, and at moments it has hurt like hell. The solution? Grab onto the people you love and realize that yesterday is gone and tomorrow is never guaranteed. All we really have is today.

It’s a new year. Is it a new me? Not completely – but I am definitely not the same person as I was last year. That’s okay, I guess.

– Follow the Bread Crumbs –



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