In regards to growing up, the older we get, the more heavy life seems to be. We realize more and understand more, and we start forming perspectives and thoughts around everything we encounter in our day-to-day lives; when we start getting older in school, when we take the next step by going to college, starting a job, and so on.
Coming-of-age has been a topic that many discuss and talk thoroughly about, concerning their thoughts, emotions, and experiences amidst getting older and what comes along with it.
What I’ve put a lot of thought into recently is how I feel so much more exposed to the heavier things in life— and that entails a lot to different degrees and extents— being amidst my last year as a teenager on the brink of ADULT adulthood.
The heavier side of life means seeing/interacting with different personalities of different people clashing with one another, creating conflict and tension among a group of people. It means realizing that events happening around the world can make us feel helpless and depressed when we’re watching the news. It means feeling the stress of so many things that could go wrong in a day, or a month, or a year.
We’ve always known these things were there, but the blissful and ignorant state that childhood is, and should be, maintains the light-hearted way of making it none of our business. That’s just the way things go. Adulthood means understanding the responsibilities we have, the biggest of which, I think, being our responsibility to ourselves. That includes our well-
being as much as it does the well-being of others and the world we live in and are a part of.
I’ve always been fascinated with thinking about how much life our parents had under their belts before we even came into the picture, how they’re human too, just like us. This is definitely not the type of thing any kid would think about from birth to senior year of high school, but realizing that they are just as capable of making mistakes or thinking some type of way becomes very apparent, especially when you start branching out in the field of independence.
And I say this just as an example of the realizations we out-of-nowhere seem to have when we start doing something that detaches us from that blissful state of childhood and irresponsibility.
I don’t want to be too philosophical or “out-there,” or to try to rain on anyone’s parade or good vibes. My goal in writing this is just to reassure anybody that it’s really normal to sometimes feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and/or confused among other emotions with what’s going on around us.
There’s a great podcast Death, Sex and Money did that featured author John Green talking about adulthood. He says, in it, “I totally underestimated adulthood when I was a kid. I thought adulthood was something that you ran from and then eventually it overtook you… I thought that you stopped changing. I remember when I was a little kid looking at my
dad’s shoes… my dad had had the same pair of shoes for like 10 years and I remember thinking what it would be like to have your feet not grow for 10 years? That sounds awful! And now I have 10 year old shoes and they are so comfortable. How could I have not understood how comfortable they are, and how nice it is to feel comfortable? And how when you feel comfortable in parts of your life, that allows you to take risks in other parts of your life?”
In short, it’s all going to be okay, and even if the past is colored by struggle, the future is not to be feared. No matter the feelings you’re feeling about studying for that test, wondering if you’ll find a career after school, having to pay for your water heater that just broke or your rent for the month, getting sick with a cold, breaking up with a partner, not understanding
another person and why they do what they do, or anything else, it’ll all be okay.
Life’s heavy, but happiness is powerful, helping others is powerful, helping yourself is powerful.
Trust yourself, have confidence, do what you have to do, and understand that life goes on in ways we don’t want it to, yet, simultaneously, in ways that we do. Adulthood isn’t scary, it’s necessary, and an opportunity for greatness and success, because everything always works out.
We’ll always find happiness if we choose to look for it.
That’s what growing up and getting older is really about: making the most out of what is handed to you. To quote the phenomenal TV drama This is Us, “there’s no lemon so sour that you can’t make something resembling lemonade.” Let that lesson ease the growing pains of getting older and dealing with all that we do. At the end of the day, the best results come from the hardest of times. It’ll be okay. Everything will all work out.
Link for the Death, Sex and Money podcast: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/deathsexmoney/episodes/john-green-death-sex-money