I don’t know about you, but for all of my adult life I have felt like I am somehow not really an adult, that other people are real grown ups but not me, that I am not mature enough, not grown up enough. That other people have got this adult thing all figured out and they’ve got it down pat, but I’m behind the ball.
And this feeling has not changed no matter how many “successes” or money I seem to have. There will be short lived periods where I feel like I’ve totally got it nailed and that’s about 5 seconds after “winning” at something our culture has defined as good adulting, but it fades just as quickly.
I think most people people harbor this feeling, especially around money. No matter how “set” they may seem, and no matter how old they are. I think people can and do feel that as much at 22 as they can at 82, and they feel it at all income levels. That they should have done more, and done better, that they should be, or should’ve been, more ahead. That they didn’t do it right somehow. That they’re failing and/or have failed at being a good grown up.
And that is because we are all force fed an image of what a “good adult” is from the time we’re born. But have you asked yourself what being a good grown up really means to you?
Most people haven’t even really thought about it, it’s rather on auto-pilot and it means what it means to the rest of the culture, which is that a good adult: grows up, gets a good job, makes lots of money, buys a nice house, has a nice family, takes perfect care of said house and family, has a healthy savings and retirement plan, is super responsible and takes care of all needs, appointments, practicalities, insurance, doctors, dentist and health stuff in a timely manner without fail and is just generally on top of ALL THE SHIT, ALL THE TIME.
In other words: a pillar of perfection.
The one who’s got it played, and got it slayed.
The one who’s got it all figured out.
The master of their own universe.
The lone wolf killin’ it at life.
The ducks are all in a row and the piggies are tucked in their blankets.
Any and all vulnerabilities have been successfully eradicated.
They’ve got it completely dialed and styled.
But in the immortal words of Wayne Campbell in Wayne’s World:
The truth is everyone’s looking around at everyone else thinking that somebody else has got something figured out that they don’t. But NOBODY DOES. They think somebody has mastered this. But NOBODY HAS. It just looks that way on the outside sometimes.
The reason no one feels successful at this definition of adulting is because no matter how dialed and styled someone seems, NO ONE has eradicated all vulnerabilities.
No matter how on top of the health stuff they are, someone could always get sick. No matter how much moula they’ve got stashed away, something could always happen to it. No matter how nice the house, it could still burn down or wash away.
We cannot protect ourselves from life’s challenges, everybody has challenges at every level, but we CAN choose how we perceive those challenges, which in turn changes our experience of them… from the inside out.
Which brings me to another of the hallmark definitions of adulting we have in our culture: “life is hard and then you die.” variations of which sound like: “growing up sucks.” and “being an adult is hard and painful and that’s just the way it is.” and “being grown up is full of endless shit you have to take care of all the time and it’s a constant pain in the ass.”
So yes, absolutely if that’s what you believe (and we are all absolutely STEWING in those ideas all the time, so why wouldn’t you believe it?!) you will most definitely see constant evidence of that belief all around you. And I am certainly not denying there is PLENTY of evidence of that to find! Absolutely plenty. And this is not making that true or false, or right or wrong, it’s about asking yourself whether or not that belief is serving you.
What I am inviting you to do today, is to ask yourself what YOUR definition of being a grown up means? What does being an adult mean to YOU? Not anyone else, not what you were taught, but to YOU? And more importantly, what do you WANT it to look and feel like?
We cannot control life, but we can work with our perspective, and our perspective is what shapes our experience in life—our INNER EXPERIENCE of life. In other words, no we can’t CONTROL life or its unknowns, but we can CREATE life and we can create new experiences in and of life.
I recently explored these questions for myself and then I re-wrote my NEW list of what being a mature adult means to ME, and what I want my experience of MY adulthood to look and feel like, and I thought I’d share that list with you in case it’s helpful:
What does being a mature and grown adult mean to ME? And what do I want MY experience of adulthood to look and feel like??
What it means to me:
- It means I am my own authority.
- It means getting to live my life my own way.
- It means my reality and experience in life is valid and I do not have to explain or defend it.
- It means others realities and experiences in life are valid too and they do not have to explain or defend it to me either.
- It means not having to agree.
- It means being free to disagree.
- It means I create, not control.
- It means I get to make my own rules for my life, and re-write the ones that don’t work for me.
- It means I get to make my own choices and experience the realities created by those choices.
- It means being free to make my own life, and to care for the things that I care for.
- It means being able to be wrong, and to have that wrong be exactly right for me right now.
- It means honoring my own path and journey, even if it’s different.
- It means I am responsible to take care of the dreams I have for me, not other peoples dreams for me.
What I want it to look and feel like for me:
- It looks like ease and joy that I consciously choose to create and cultivate.
- It looks like life is kind, helpful, and beautiful.
- It looks like fun, and freedom and laughter and silliness.
- It looks like seriousness and sadness, that is always met with love and open arms.
- It looks like a sometimes challenging, but ultimately benevolent and loving ride.
- It looks like challenges that always contain great treasures, if I’m willing to look for and find them.
- It looks like knowing I am fully supported by life at all times, in all ways, with whatever it is I might need next.
- It looks like getting to ask for help from sources both seen and unseen.
- It looks like easily receiving that help from sources both seen and unseen.
- It looks like being surrounded in support, and not having to do it alone or do it perfectly.
- It looks like not having to fight against reality, but meeting it with acceptance of what IS and a willingness to learn and grow and meet the challenge of changing it.
- It looks like meeting pain with open heart and open arms.
- It looks like being met with exactly the same.
- It looks like learning through love instead of shame, so I can teach with love instead of shame.
- It looks like seeing failures as the very successes of trying!
- It looks like seeing successes as the result of being willing to try and fail many times.
- It looks like love and freedom and an opportunity to see what I can do!
- It looks like getting to play in the sandbox of manifestation and change.
- It looks like getting to transform impossible things to possible.
- It looks like an endless journey of learning, and everyone is on that same journey.
- It looks like knowing I have as much left to learn at 42, or 82 as I did at 2. And no one is ahead or behind.
So that is what I am creating. And I’ve had a lot of success with it, though it’s not perfect. But just like me, it’s a work in progress… and it always will be.
How about you? What are you creating?? What do you want for YOUR adulthood? It is never too late to change how that feels to you. It’s not ever too late to be young at heart.
And if you’d like some help with that, and with making more money doing more of what you love, then I invite you to check out my Feast or Famine No More Course where we continually work on that very thing »