“Adulting is tough,” a lot of twenty-somethings tell me. Constantly. On repeat. Like a broken record. Not that they would know what an actual record is, or if they would get the funny nature of using a non-word to describe something. Maybe if they use it enough it will become part of the common lexicon. With enough usage it could eventually make its way into the dictionary. Apparently, it’s hard.
They tell me this because they don’t think I get it. After all, when I became an official adult Bill Clinton was still in office, Kanye West was just another black dude, and Taylor Swift was in kindergarten. They tell me this because “adulting” has apparently gotten tougher since I came up, and I don’t get that the #struggleisreal. For them it’s harder these days to navigate the rough waters of new adulthood, so they had to create a term to show their pain.
I get it. I do. It’s hard when you’re finally liberated from “the nest,” when you have to take care of your own bills, when you have to feed yourself, clothe yourself, do THINGS for yourself. It’s that point in your life when you finally realize what mom and/or dad have been telling you all along, that life is tough, that they’ve been doing everything for you, and “wait until you grow up.” Well, now you’re all grown up, and you’re longing for the good ol days. That’s what it means to me when those twenty-somethings tell me that adulting is tough.
So when the going gets tough, the tough do what, twenty-somethings? Whine to everyone about it on Twitter? Post Instagram pics of you holding an empty wallet? Ramble on using the limitless nature of the Facebook post? They don’t generally get a job, or if they do they whine about that too. They don’t usually go ask mom and/or dad for advice, because what would their parents possibly know about the big wide world? What they’ve been taught is if they complain enough about it other twenty-somethings will commiserate, using the same hashtags, and that shows some solidarity. That’s exactly what they need in order to succeed in the big, bad world.
I agree, by the way. Being an adult is tough. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been one for over 22 years. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been an adult for far longer than I ever was a child. It doesn’t get any easier, because there are still some things you have to do, even if you don’t want to do them. That gets exponentially harder when you begin to own STUFF, and when you have children. Tying yourself to someone who is dependent on you for their own well being is a huge commitment, and it’s another part of adulthood that can be challenging, and overwhelming at times.
Being an adult isn’t easy, and this feeling is not just limited to twenty-somethings. It doesn’t matter how old you are, the responsibility of being an adult is an awesome one. The struggle is definitely real, but the key is to deal with it by organizing your life, by figuring out not just how you’re going to get by, but how you’re going to thrive with what you’ve been given in life. It’s okay to admit the difficulty, but whining about it at every opportunity is simply counterproductive.