Adulting isn’t a word, but it should be. It perfectly describes that thing that we all struggle to do, day in and day out, when the majority of us still feel way under qualified for this task of being an adult.
I remember being in my teens, wishing that life would just hurry up so I could get out on my own and make my own decisions and be my own person. It never even occurred to me that this whole “adulting” thing is a lot harder than simply magically having my own place and a career and a phone I could use whenever I wanted (because really, all these thoughts were spurred by the constantly busy houseline and my thought that if I were an adult living on my own, I’d never have to wait until my older sister Kate stopped gabbing to make a call).
I foolishly thought that by the time I hit my mid-twenties, I’d have my shit together and be one of those functional adults. Nobody told me that most adults don’t know how to adult, it’s all a guessing game and I honestly find it hard to believe that anybody really knows what they’re doing.
You know, I thought that the high school mentality would stay in high school. That was another foolish mistake, if anything it just gets worse. People get more judgmental, more comparisons are made, even more gossip is sent through the mill. In high school, that shit happened because the kids were insecure and didn’t know who they were. Now it happens because people are still insecure and they still don’t know who the hell they are, but the added pressures of adulthood make it worse because we feel like we should know who we are.
Too many people around me hear about someone our age who has thrown in the towel to their marriage or relationship, and they tsk and tut because they’d never give up so easily. It’s almost laughable, especially because those people are the ones that stay in the shittiest relationships, clinging to something that’s been dead for a while now, simply so they don’t have to face the same kind of judgment they passed on others.
But the relationships of other people are not the only things met with extreme judgment and contempt, it’s any decision those around us make. Sally-Jo gets pregnant, and instantly everyone gossips about how it was a terrible decision because Sally-Jo doesn’t know how to raise a child, or maybe Sally-Jo doesn’t have “the job” or maybe she isn’t “married” to the father.
The same thing happens when someone announces a marriage or buying a house. People around them instantly start to gab about how it’s a bad decision because they’re not ready, as if any of us are ready to do any of the things we’ve been doing. Who decides when someone’s ready? Why are so many announcements meant with such scathing judgments?
Is it because of social media? Because we have this invitation to see inside each others lives and make judgments based on what we read? Is it that coupled with the fact that none of us know how to adult, so we’re desperately clinging to the fact that at least we have our shit together, unlike Sally-Jo?
This is why I cringe any time I need to make a difficult decision, for the greater good of my little family. A decision that I know people won’t agree with. They will find out regardless, because that’s how this age works. Even if you’ve managed to keep something off your social media accounts, someone else you’ve told might accidentally let something slip and then suddenly it’s gone through the gossip mill and been twisted beyond recognition, and everyone is judging and pointing fingers and it’s ugly.
I feel like we all focus on other peoples lives so much to avoid the imperfections of our own, to draw away from the difficult decisions we have to make, to escape the fact that we don’t know how to adult.
There’s something happening in my life right now that sucks and I’d love to be able to write freely about it, but I can’t, because I’m not ready to face the accusations and stupidity of the masses who speak before trying to even comprehend a situation in its entirety. No, this isn’t about my marriage or anything like that. That shit’s stable (but yes, I realize that can change at any minute for any reason, but seriously – that’s not what this is about). This about something else that affects my family, a difficult decision that we have had to made, a difficult decision that took months to come to and a lot of tears too. One that might make us look bad, because again – why bother trying to understand where someone else is coming from when you can simply point fingers of blame and condemn them?
So, yeah. Adulting is hard and difficult decisions suck.