I spent most of my adolescence waiting to grow up. I imagined the day I would do my own laundry and pay my own bills. In school I daydreamed about the career I would have. I envisioned my adult self as drinking expensive bourbon with sophisticated friends. I fantasized about the man I would marry and the exotic destinations to which we would travel. Adulthood seemed like a dream.
Yet my mother always warned me that adulthood was but a series of menial tasks, responsibilities, stressors and intricate interactions interspersed with only occasional relaxation and joy. As per usual my mother was quite right. For the past decade I have dependably grappled with adulthood in all of its unglamorous and poignant glory.
As I write this very post my kitchen sink is clogged on both sides because of a radish I accidentally put down the garbage disposal. I sometimes leave laundry in the dryer for days at a time, opening and subsequently closing the dryer door for clean clothes as needed. I often do the same with my mail, returning unopened bills promptly to the mailbox for any amount of time that seems fit. More weeks than not I choose to do anything other than grocery shop even if that anything is absolutely nothing.
Routine responsibilities and finances aside, adulthood means that I serve as the primary source of emotional support for myself. This is to say that the relationship I have with my adult self is not only important but actually imperative to my survival, success and sense of fulfillment.
As an adult, there are days when I wonder if I am good enough, kind enough, pretty enough or smart enough. There are days when I ask myself if I will feel happy, if the loneliness will ever diminish. There are days when I feel anxious and days when I feel depressed. There are days when I sleep through my alarm, spill hot drinks on my pants and lock my keys in the car. There are days when I step in dog excrement and days when my bank account balance is unarguably abysmal. There are days I feel so overwhelmed it is as if I am drowning. There was even a day recently when my hair caught on fire from a candle. My mama never told me there’d be a day like that one.
When there are days like those days I am grateful for the peripheral comfort and support I receive from my life’s treasured cast of characters. But when the sympathetic phone call disconnects and the friend with whom I happy hour-ed has a glass all run out of sand (or beer), I only have myself. I must learn to accept my grown-up struggles (also known as the human condition). I must love myself in the face of a harsh and unforgiving world and strive to journey forward in spite of hardship.
And on days when this fails, on days when staying grown up is hard to do, I watch reruns of Frasier on Netflix for he is a sophisticated friend, indeed.