Staying Grown-Up Is Hard To Do

“Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.” ― Maya Angelou

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.