a pep talk: keep on adulting, kid.

If you’re a tired twenty-something who has a long list of responsibilities and a whole lot of questions about what the H you’re doing, this is for you.

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Daylight Savings hit me like a bug on a windshield.

Most days I wake up before the sun is awake. My alarm goes off at 6AM and after pressing snooze 3 times I pull myself out of bed. By 6:30 I’m sitting with a cup of coffee and my Bible on my lap with the world’s largest cat curled up next to me. My morning ritual of rising before the sun doesn’t make me any less tired, and most mornings I debate trading sleep for sanity, but it’s my sacred space. So when 6AM feels more like 5AM, it’s hard make like Big Sean and bounce back.

Adulting is hard. A friend shared this on Facebook the other day and I literally LOL-ed in my office because of how true it is. Adulting means prioritizing and actually doing what life has served to you on your plate. And it’s exhausting, especially here in the PNW “Almost Spring Not Quite” season where it’s hard to tell where the gray starts and ends.

You’ve got a list of to-dos to prove to the world that you are, in fact, thriving but you’ve only got the energy level to put on real pants that day. That’s only if you’re absolutely killing it and you’ve done laundry in the past few days or so. Most weeks I’m lucky if I remember to do laundry in time before I run to Target and buy some clean clothes.

Maybe you’re facing a mountain of your finals or you’re buried at work or maybe it’s just been a couple of rough weeks for you since the shiny beginning of 2017. Whatever it is, your tank is empty. BUT. I believe we’re the comeback kids. So consider me your Coach Taylor (except not a man and way less handsome).

My words are not as poetic as “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” But if you’re a tired twenty-something – like myself – who has a long list of responsibilities and a whole lot of questions about what the H you’re doing, this is for you.

First thing’s first: look up.

We get so heads down in the grind to prove ourselves as capable humans that we forget to look up around us and breathe. Everything seems a lot bigger when it’s the only thing you’re looking at. You’ve got a capable body and a sound mind a whole lot of future ahead of you. No matter what happens today, there’s going to be a tomorrow. Look around you and realize first and foremost that you’re not alone in this.

But there is something in this world that only you can do and the world needs you to do it.

This may seem scary, but it’s the truth! You were given a whole set of talents, abilities, opportunities and a brain that’s unique to you. You’re something special, you know that? And yes, everybody has been telling you this since the day you were born and it can start to feel like a pipe dream. But something magical happens when you realize that you play an important part in the world.

You could be the world’s greatest pinball player. Or you could use your dance moves to bring cultures and communities together. Or you could code the next app that saves lives. Or you could use your words, resources, and life to do a whole lot of good in your neighborhood.

I get that you can’t put words to what your gifts are yet, but they’re there. I know they are. YOU know they are. It’s only a matter of time before the golden parts of you are uncovered, but it’s on you to make the effort to do so.

You might not be able to create enough space right now to identify what it is you were meant to do on this big green planet, but that’s ok. Sometimes the most important thing right now is to show up and try your best to be present in the work you’re doing today. All of these little experiences make you more into the person you were meant to be. So keep track of what you love and what you hate, eventually you’ll start to build a clearer vision of who you want to be.

Here’s some tough love that I need to hear, too: stop being numb.

There are so many ways to eat the hours and keep us occupied. We scroll and like and click “continue watching” until our brains are exhausted enough to switch off and drift to a hazy shut down. You justify that you need this period of “rest” so that you can continue adulting tomorrow, but that’s not true. Numbing ourselves cheats us out of living and growing into real people. Eventually it becomes a habit and you wake up later and realize that you made a lot of plans and held a lot of dreams but never did anything about them. Don’t live your life in woulda/shoulda/coulda. Take a deep breath and do it, whatever “it” is.

I know you’re trying your hardest to make sure you’re doing everything right. You checked all the boxes of “ways to be a great adult” and still ended up doubting if this was the right thing to do. You look around at everyone else and make yourself responsible for being the example, even if you don’t even know what the example is supposed to look like. But remember when I told you to look up at the other pretty faces around you? They’re trying to figure out the same thing – what am I doing? We’re all wondering what we’re doing, so you don’t have to be the one person who does.

Today’s freedom: No one is expecting you to be the success story. Everyone around you isn’t holding you to these same measuring tape you use and you’re not going to let anyone down if you misstep along the way. No one is watching to see if you’ll fail. But there is a whole tribe of people who want to see you rise and make it to the finish line when you do.

They’re rooting for you to find that thing that makes you feel like all the disconnected parts of you came together – your symphony of strengths. That moment doesn’t have to happen today or tomorrow or next week. It might not even be a one time thing. It could be a series of decisions that all point to one obvious next step. Whatever it is, you were meant to find it and I believe you will.

Homegirl, you were never created to be good at “adulting”. Adulting makes it seem like you have to have it all figured out, and how boring is that? Life is way more fun when you have a sense of wonder and adventure. And grace is all the more sweeter when you mess up and don’t deserve it.

One day you’ll blink and you’ll be sixty. You won’t remember the each day’s ins and outs from when you had no idea who you were, but you’ll remember what you learned and made with your life.

There is always going to be another to-do or more responsibility piled on your plate, but you may not get another opportunity to sing karaoke with your friends on a Thursday night or watch college basketball with your grandpa. There’s only a select few days of sunshine in the PNW winter-spring, so go for a hike. Your laundry and your email inbox can wait and you’ll feel all the more human after you take a minute to truly rest and breathe.

You’re going to be alright, kid. You’re going to be alright.

Author: Emily Flanagan

Life in the PNW and everywhere else. Let's get breakfast.

One thought on “a pep talk: keep on adulting, kid.”

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