In a few days I am having the 24th birthday. While feelings of adulthood and homemaking are starting to settle into the minds of “regular” twenty-four year olds, if you’re wondering how I feel…I’m terrified. Don’t get me wrong, the last twenty-four years have been GREAT and if I had to make projection of the future based on current events, I’d say I am in for at least a couple good more. But what is concerning me most about this milestone (well…not really a milestone) birthday is that I still don’t feel grown up.
Over the last week I have been staying in my parent’s home and nothing makes me feel more like an adolescent again than when my parent’s are making comments on the amount of clothing currently spread across the bedroom floor or the general lack of alarms I’ve been setting in the morning. In this last week I have also spent countless hours binge watching NBC’s Community as if I am not a full time student preparing graduate school applications while looking for work to cover rent.
Looking back, as a teenager I always had these dreams of being the “independent - big city” type of guy. I envisioned myself walking down a busy street in a corporate district on an early winter morning, briefcase in one hand coffee in the other and headed to my six figure 9-to-7 (I was devoted) job. Now besides the fact that I am currently studying fine art and not necessarily headed in the corporate direction, it honestly could still happen. But I don’t see myself as that guy. Current actions prove that I still act very much like a kid, but the truth is, I’m not. I’m not a kid anymore. And although having my mother make me grilled cheese (this actually happened) and offer to do my laundry (…still waiting for this one) makes me feel like a teenager again, it’s just not reality.
So where is the balance? How do I, or we, as people who are constantly “growing up” live up to the expectations of our age and where we should be in life? To be honest I don’t think there is one specific answer but I do think that there are things we can think about and reflect that might help us keep a balance that neither judges nor excuses.
1)Are we accomplishing and more importantly, setting goals?
I have learned that the times of my life that are hardest to get through are the times that I am working tirelessly without a goal in mind. I’m being busy to be busy and not focusing on the things that I want and need.
2)Are we setting aside time to be that “kid self”?</ul>
Scheduling a half-day during a busy month where I get to focus on and do the things I want to do instead the things I need to do have been crucial to not experiencing burn out. This is a lesson hard learned as a college student.
3)Are we reflecting on the accomplishments that have shaped who we are?
These “accomplishments” don’t need to be anything big but they can be. It could be a high school graduation or the completion of a 4-week yoga class. Reflecting on even the small things that we are doing and accomplishing can help give us a better perspective on what’s going on in life.</ul>
These are some of the things that help cool my nerves when thinking about the scary 24th. What are some things that help you find balance when in a time of life that feels “out of your league”?