Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Adulting

There's this catch-phrase going around called "adulting."

I just filed my taxes. #adulting

Last semester before I work for the rest of my life! #adulting

We bought a house! #adulting

Cooking for the in-laws. <3 <3 #adulting

Changed my baby's diaper again.  #adulting

Paying my bills on time. ;) #adulting #responsible #adultingresponsibly

I think that the hashtag is meant to distract readers from realizing that the post isn't that interesting or funny. But then, that's kind of what all hashtags do.

Pizza with the roomies! #yolo 

(Other hashtags seem to function like parentheses, e.g., #sorrynotsorry, #sarcasm, #seewhatIdidthere) We certainly take great pains to make sure that we are perceived well and correctly. I can't judge though. I am all too familiar with instacurity.



Maybe #adulting bugs me more than other hashtags because its a made-up word that could be easily replaced by #adulthood. Like I said, most posts with hashtags are uninteresting, and I'm not bugged by those ones. In fact, I can relate to that feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing adult things for the first time. Facebook was made for announcements, and any event that gives you a sense of accomplishment ought to be shared with friends. #notsarcasm

Or maybe I am simply displacing my discomfort with growing up onto an innocent catch-phrase. I'm resisting the trend to complain/celebrate/bond about adulthood with others because I'm in denial about how tough it is. I naively thought I had adulthood figured out, but then I graduated, got married, and moved across the country.

JUST to be clear (and so I don't get concerned texts or phone calls), I am very happy. I mean that in the emotional sense and in the "I'm satisfied with my life" sense. We are truly blessed and we hardly deserve it. That doesn't mean that I haven't had an emotional breakdown every week, it just means that there are big adjustments to be made.

I suddenly have so much respect for every breadwinner out there who has the weight of providing for more than him or herself. I also have a deeper appreciation for the courage required to pursue one's dreams in the face of an over-saturated market. Even if I end up hating my job or career, I don't think I would be brave enough to try something completely different even if I loved that thing.

I think I'm also really homesick.

The other day, I saw a friend post a picture of herself starting the new semester at BYU. She had a huge smile and you could see the sun shining behind her on a beautiful campus I call home. I almost cried.

Even though I sometimes criticize BYU or roll my eyes at the Mormon worship of BYU, I can't deny that it holds a hallowed place in my heart. I had new responsibilities, sure, but it was liberating to be on my own. (The origin of my feelings that adulthood was easy).

BYU was a place I felt free to explore, wonder, and become something more. I was encouraged to think critically and develop, re-develop, and continue re-developing my thoughts and ideas. My testimony of the gospel was challenged by new knowledge but also strengthened as a result. I learned new social rules. I could be surrounded by people or alone if I wanted, and nobody would care. I discovered there that you could have meaningful conversations with strangers (and often never talk to them again). It was a place safety. I felt peace in most of the buildings that I sometimes couldn't at my apartment. I could go to the temple nearby when I needed more peace. I could go on...

I was feeling nostalgic the other day as I went through pictures of my freshman year. One image brought me back to a night I went to International Cinema with a new friend.  That night, I made the mistake of wearing cotton flats right after it had rained. We probably hit every icy puddle walking from old heritage halls to the SWKT, but that probably made it more exciting. It was a Friday night, and I was going to a movie on a whim with whomever I wanted, just because. I also felt very academic and indie.

By the time the movie ended, it had snowed about 6 inches. My feet were already a drenched in puddle water, but I had warmed them to a comfortable temperature during the movie. It was like... somebody had peed on my flats. I covered my feet in the new trash linings hidden underneath the used ones in the hall, and dashed outside to a winter wonderland.

It was SO beautiful. Without any wind to toss the snow, it perfectly draped the trees and the light posts. I was in awe. I paused several times on my way back while my pee shoes started to harden inside their bags. It was like a little present to me: "Welcome to a new era. You may get frostbite, but boy is it beautiful."



That sense of excitement and newness faded little by little as time passed, but the feeling of home never did. By grad school, I was jealously possessive of my home because I felt like I was being kicked out. Against my will, they were passing the title to younger students. What use did I have of its many buildings?? I only needed one or two anymore, and soon I wouldn't need them at all.

So the homesickness really kicked in before I moved. Maybe it's a good thing I can't visit all the time.

(Side note... I think I slept in every building I had a class and then some...That's like seven buildings... And I ate on campus at least five days of the week for most of my undergrad... It really WAS like a home!!!)

[Back to adulthood...]

I think the biggest difference between the adulthood I experienced going to BYU and now is that the excitement is replaced by fear. And maybe that's the biggest indicator of being an adult is that you have a greater sense of everything that can go wrong and you fear it. Maybe that's why it has a bad rep.

It doesn't have to be that way though. If you learned anything from my story, I had the option of despairing with my impending frostbite, but I was too distracted by a fancy tree. I shouldn't look out the window and see breathable water and mosquitoes, I should instead focus on all of the green and natural beauty of Missouri.

I guess.

Maybe I just need to see a really fancy Midwest tree. That'd probably make everything more exciting.


Canute is a dinosaur in his dreams.

2 comments:

  1. I miss you a lot! But it sounds like you're doing well, and that makes me happy.

    ReplyDelete