Last night, I posted an article here called “Everyone needs to grow up.”
I shared it because I’ve personally felt drawn to “childish” things lately, and I’m personally trying to make sense of it… How do you find a balance between serious adult responsibilities (raising a family, managing a team, etc.) and needing a break from that?
A good friend saw that post and sent me this article, which acts as a great counterpoint. (He may be the only reader of this blog, honestly.)
I’m of the opinion that the only way to be an adult is to be willing to meet people where they are and care for them in the way they want to be cared for. It is about setting healthy boundaries; it is about knowing who you are and what you, yourself, can do and can handle. It is about planning for the long-term.
The concept of knowing who I am is absolutely top of mind lately. My wife and I have been considering our own individual values and discussing how those mesh, mostly as a way to understand what we want to instill in our children, but also to figure out who we are as individuals.
One thing I’ve realized while undergoing this thought experiment is that I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my life suppressing who I am as a way to maintain neutrality and not rock the boat.
An example: I really like using “big words”. I find it hard sometimes to express my thoughts, and it makes me happy when I find a new word which poignantly expresses a thought. But then I often avoid using those words because I don’t want to be seen as aloof or pretentious.
Anyway, I think some people are really in tune with who they are and are unafraid to show that to the world. Being an adult, for me, is finding a way to be comfortable with who I am and not ashamed of it.
I don’t think people are adult babies now, at least not offline. Although I do think it’s maybe harder than ever to be an adult. The traditional markers of transitioning through life-stages are evaporating; basically all that’s left to guide you are bills and literature. The structures that created our modern idea of adulthood have collapsed — which is to say governments aren’t subsidizing things like homeownership like they did after the Second World War — and it’s easy to feel adrift.
Boy, ain’t that the truth. We have a playbook for life all the way up through high school. From there, it’s a boot out of the nest, and it is up to us individually to figure out how to adult.