Hyperbolic adulthood

L'Opera Garnier © Natalia Martinez

I’m recommending this hilarious post from Hyperbole and a Half about transitioning to adulthood and suddenly having to cope with responsibilities and time management and “wait, I just bleached my entire load of laundry.” If you’ve ever stared at a piece of steak, stared back at your pan, back to the steak, back to the pan, and walked away in defeat at realizing you have no idea how to cook….this post will ring true.

The creep up of adulthood is unavoidable – or well, in most cases, only stall-able for so long before it becomes awkwardly inappropriate to lack a career plan, do without a set of relatively defined goals that don’t just include self-exploration, and get by on internships and tutoring. But we should be having fun with this process and too many of us forget that.

My parents always said to me in between sighs that high school and college would be the best years of my life. Despite having an amazing experience during those years, I never quite knew what they meant because my situational view was focused on doing well, reaching certain goals, graduating with certain degrees, fulfilling certain responsibilities, and always keeping my plate full. I don’t regret most of these decisions, but I do regret not realizing that those were the very things that made those years so enjoyable. Being busy and stressed is sometimes a part of college, but it is the kind of stress that comes from stretching your mind, from being challenged by people who know a lot more than you, by having to produce work that is above mediocre, by having to manage the 19 different extracurricular  responsibilities you’ve taken on this semester. Well yea, sure, it’s stressful, but it is also (for the most part) voluntary and centered around things that interest you, that spark a desire o stretch yourself thin for things you believe in. Even just a few years out of college, you can see that some of these opportunities have been taken away from us and replaced with a different kind of obligation.

The bottom line is that I am hoping and trying to not replicate the same mistake in my current ambiguous, shifting young adulthood. Am I stressed and pulled at in different directions: full-time work, part-time grad school, volunteering, running/training, household chores, regular & ordinary fun with friends, rest and sleep? Yes. But again, that is part of the beauty – this is our time of exploration and self-definition. This is a time when trial-and-error can be a feasible method of decision-making (this luxury will be taken from us over time). If we’re busy and stressed and confused about life, it’s because we are taking the time to figure it out. Al cliches aside, the journey is damn well important here, so let’s remember to have fun while we’re at it, lest we suddenly find ourselves waiting to turn 30…

My good friend Kathryn (whom I miss very much since she is overseas) shared this quote earlier this year, and I think it is incredible applicable. From the movie “The Hours”: “I remember one morning getting up at dawn, there was such a sense of possibility. You know, that feeling? And I remember thinking to myself: So, this is the beginning of happiness. This is where it starts. And of course there will always be more. It never occurred to me it wasn’t the beginning. It was happiness. It was the moment. Right then.”


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