It’s not even important bustle. It’s useless static keeping me awake. I picture my thoughts as layers. I don’t know if it’s normal to be able to ponder multiple things simultaneously, but tonight it’s like they’re stacked. The thoughts are all happening at once, like a theory of everything whirling uncontrollably behind my eyes.
And unfortunately, the Frozen 2 soundtrack is at the base of it.
“Some things never change…”
Did I respond to that email?
My hippo moves out tomorrow.
There’s chicken in the freezer for dinner.
Maybe I should have showered.
“And I’m holding on tight to you…”
I can respond to that email first thing in the morning.
Do they all eventually move out in Animal Crossing?
I should have pulled that chicken out to thaw.
Eh, I can shower after I work out in the morning.
“This will all make sense when I am older…”
Is there a meeting in the morning?
I never finished that DIY recipe.
There’s ground beef in the freezer, too. We could have burgers.
Did I set an alarm to work out?
“INTO THE UNKNOWN!!”
Oh, wait, just my 1:1 meeting is in the morning.
How do I get more elephants to my island?
Wait, we can’t have burgers, I don’t have any buns.
I worked out yesterday, I don’t have to work out tomorrow, right?
“INTO THE UNKNOO-OOWN!”
Did I even set an alarm?
Why was I thinking about Animal Crossing?
“Into the un-KNOOOOOOOOOOWWN!”
Maybe I should write this all down.
Screw it, we’ll order in for dinner.
Why am I still thinking about this?
What time is it?
Elsa! Shut up! I’m trying to sleep!
I wish it was a more profound storm whipping through my brain, but all I have to offer are broken pieces of Frozen 2 lyrics, sporadic Animal Crossing updates, dinner plans, workout and shower thoughts, and vaguely wondering about work.
Sometimes, the thoughts are heavy and philosophical and important as I lay in silent darkness with the minutes ticking by like hours.
But most of the time, it’s a fucking Disney singalong in my head until I somehow knock myself out.
I found myself giggling this morning as I reclined with a fresh cup of coffee and the Nintendo Switch in my lap.
Some adults read the paper on a Sunday morning… I sip coffee and play Animal Crossing.
I consider myself a “gamer” to a certain extent. Gaming amongst adults is pretty normal now, and I don’t feel it makes me any less of an adult. It’s a casual hobby to be enjoyed when the dust settles around all the moving pieces of life. I could never get paid to game, and I’m not on any leaderboards, but it’s something I enjoy doing when I actually find the free time.
It started in the 5th grade when Santa brought a green special edition Nintendo 64. It of course came with Donkey Kong 64, the only game I had for a while until I saved up for MarioKart. It took me a shamefully long time to figure out how to toss around explosive oranges, but once I did, there was something incredibly satisfying about running around as one of 5 monkey aliases collecting bananas of various colors in each level. I later realized DK64 is classified as a “collection game,” and not everyone enjoys that style of video game.
You mean to tell me not everyone gets strange satisfaction from collecting 201 golden bananas and 101%-ing a game?
DK64 is the reason I call myself a “completionist” in the gaming world. I love finishing every single objective, checking all the boxes, discovering all the items, exploring every corner, and seeing a 100% after the end credits. I’ve done this with DK64, Banjo Kazooie, Mario, the Resident Evil franchise, and many others.
Most notably, I did this with Zelda, Breath of the Wild. 100%-ing Zelda took me over 200 hours (not consecutively). Finding all those Korok seeds to hit 100% was straight up Nintendo trolling the completionists, let me tell you. But the accomplishment I felt was incredible.
As I was counting the number of fossils I’ve discovered in Animal Crossing this morning, a realization settled over me. “Completionist” is not only an adjective for my gaming style, but also a personality trait I developed as I advanced through adulthood.
This may be more of an epiphany than a realization.
I think I finally figured myself out.
In reflection of my recent posts, it seems I have a fixation on checking all those adulting boxes, covering all my bases, experiencing all the moments. When expected moments don’t happen, I feel empty with unspent momentum and the disappointment can be bitter.
I want this experience to be complete.
I want to collect every single banana and see that 100% at the end.
But whose game is this?
Animal Crossing has built-in goals to accomplish. Resident Evil 3 has a pre-written story. DK64 pre-placed all those bananas for discovery, and I know damn well that blue turtle shell that smacked my ass at the finish line was gunning for me from the beginning!
I need to complete these virtual lists and check these non-existent boxes that were programed into a digital game for entertainment, because they bring a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that we all seek in real life but cannot always instantly have.
Sometimes we cannot control reality’s storyline. It spirals out in these strange microbursts of energy and fury. So instead, we control digital pre-programed stories and feel like we’re getting somewhere when reality feels paused.
200 hours in a game is like a lifetime of adventure and yields a few moments of blissful satisfaction along with infinite bragging rights.
200 hours in life is barely enough time to make a decision.
I cannot continue to look at life the way I look at a game. This isn’t a battle of completion. There is no pre-determined storyline, there is no list of objectives, there is no meter measuring my success.
I program this path.
I decide what it means to be an adult.
I decide what it means to be successful.
The goal isn’t to complete everything.
The satisfaction is in the journey.
If I can keep this in my mind, the pressure I feel to achieve everything I wrote for myself dissipates a little.
This is my game. My life. My list of objectives. In videogames, there’s no negotiation on what it means to “win”. In reality, goals can flex. They can shift. They can move fluidly through time and adjust at will. You don’t “win” life.
No one gets out alive, after all.
Being a “completionist” is placing a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself, and hinders my ability to enjoy the ride.
I’m going to finish this cup of coffee. I’m going to keep counting my fossils in Animal Crossing. I’ll probably never get the paper and read it on Sundays like my dad. There’s no deadline for my goal of publishing a book, I don’t have to be a parent right away, and so what if I haven’t put away the laundry yet.
An Animal Crossing bug just flew by that I need to go catalog, and I have all the time in the world.
“I’d rather be dry, but, at least I’m ali-ive!” I sang slightly off key with Lady GaGa as I wiggled my hips in the center of my kitchen. I held a nostalgic Bomb Pop in one hand and was loading the dishwasher with the other. I took a lick of patriotic flavored ice between verses.
“Nananana lala bop bop innoce-e-ent!” I belted with Arianna, using the Bomb Pop as a microphone. I loaded the final plate into the dishwasher, tossed in the soap pod, then slammed the door. I danced in a circle a few beats before pressing the “start” button and moonwalking away.
The song on my stereo ended as I licked my popsicle stick clean. The silence between tracks was unexpectedly filled with a mechanical growl.
“What the…” I muttered, muting the stereo and cautiously returning to the kitchen. It sounded like a blender, then like unlubricated gears grinding together inside my dishwasher. I studied it a while, stained popsicle stick hanging from my mouth, eyes squinting as I assessed the situation.
“Oh, shit,” I cursed as the sound grew louder and angrier. I leapt forward and tore open the dishwasher, expecting to see dripping water and steam.
It was bone dry inside.
The popsicle stick fell from my lips and clattered on the ceramic tile as I realized the appliance was broken.
One minute I’m a care-free child, dancing to Rain on Me with a Bomb Pop, and the next I’m adulting, dealing with a broken appliance and a shit ton of nasty dishes from last night’s dinner.
There are two kinds of adults. The ones who crawl into the dishwasher and fix it, and the ones who stomp over to the laptop and start dumping new appliances into a virtual shopping cart.
You can probably guess which one I am.
Thankfully, my husband is the former of the two and balances out my clicker finger.
Broken appliances are certainly on the “annoying list” of things that mean adulting. I’m thankful it was just the dishwasher, and not the massive water heater (we fixed that last month by hitting it with a hammer). Fixing or replacing broken things is just part of homeownership, and it’s something I’ve gotten used to after owning a home for seven years.
Doesn’t make it any less annoying, though.
Things break. Adults fix. It’s this unbreakable cycle, just something we have to do.
Meanwhile, I just set my burgers on fire and overcooked the macaroni while I was trying to type this out.
Apparently, I have yet to master the multi-tasking part of adulting.
I’ll work on that.
Anyway. Not really sure what the moral of this story is… but my gut says it’s that it’s okay to sing into a Bomb Pop like a microphone when you’re 29 and breaking the dishwasher.
I turn 29 today. My “golden birthday,” even. 29 on the 29th.
And I’m celebrating with a Frozen 2 Birthday Cake and Animal Crossing, because the number 29 doesn’t mean a thing.
…Or so I claim.
The truth is, I’m struggling with 29. The last year in my twenties feels a lot like the last chance to finally get it all right. I know that’s all in my head, and we spend our entire lives discovering who we are. But there’s something about the looming cloud of 30 that has me on edge. It feels so adulty, and I wonder how prepared I am to enter that decade in a year.
Really, this meme sums it up nicely:
There is drool dripping down my shoulder from the stalking decade that seems to scream adulthood in a rather dinosaur-like fashion. I have exactly 365 days to prepare for a milestone that seems to mean I’ve reached the peek of adulthood and will successfully execute all the important things responsible individuals are supposed to do.
Perhaps I’m struggling a little because I always thought I’d have a few kids in this house and a book published by 30. From an education and a career standpoint, I am exactly where I always hoped I’d be, and I couldn’t be prouder. But the rest of the fragments have yet to fall into place. I am an unfinished jigsaw with uneven pieces and thousands of colors.
One cannot put a deadline on growth. We are constantly evolving, every step of our journey guiding us toward the unpredictable and the unexpected. The adventure shapes us as we travel, and the phrase “according to plan” doesn’t carry much weight in the grand scheme of the universe. In my experience, trying to follow a tight life plan has really only lead to frustration and heartache.
And here I thought adults always had a plan.
So, there’s some dissonance here. Something not going “according to plan” brings sadness and disappointment, so I’m inclined to believe I should just go with the flow and let the world take me where I am meant to be. But simultaneously, I’ve come to expect adults to be organized and sure of themselves. These two sides are yanking me in separate directions, and I’m tearing at the center trying to figure out where I should be standing as life whisks around me.
Sometimes there’s a storm in my head. A hundred little things pick up in the wind and spin at the back of my skull. A tornado of words and ideas and ideals spins around my mind and maybe you’ve seen the lightning in my eyes. I overthink. I feel anxious. I become disoriented and am not always sure which direction to head.
I don’t know if I’ll be ready for 30 when she comes next year.
I don’t know if 52 weeks is enough time to collect my missing pieces and settle into myself.
But I do know that 30 doesn’t have to be a cap on discovery, and I’ll spend the next 12 months accepting that.
I know that if I love my hardest along the way, the journey forward will be sweet.
It won’t always be easy.
The balance is rickety.
But it will be a glorious year filled with endless surprises. Mostly because my plan just flew out the open car window as I was singing “Show Yourself” at the top of my lungs.
“Show yourself Step into your power Throw yourself Into something new
You are the one you’ve been waiting for All of your life All of my life”
“One who cannot support themselves emotionally or mentally.”
“Literally a case of baskets.”
Sometimes I feel like a total basket case. My body is a teetertotter balancing the pressures of adulthood and professionalism on one end with my passions and emotional baggage on the other. It wavers back and forth, up and down.
And the older I get, the more I have a problem with motion sickness.
Like seriously. I can’t sit on a swing anymore without getting nauseous. Rocking hammock? Forget it. Green really isn’t my color.
I am sick from the swaying seesaw. I’m queasy from spinning reality and unknown futures.
I’m finding the more I write, the more my pieces are shifting from lighthearted humor and leaning toward something very raw and personal. I suppose that’s growth; stripping down and examining ourselves piece by piece isn’t easy. Tiny particles of myself transfigure into words that spread across a blank page.
And sometimes, it’s beautiful.
But most days it’s hard to be so naked with myself and I wonder where the humor went. It shouldn’t be this hard, observing the world and myself then stamping it on paper for others to enjoy. But sometimes it is, because I’m running on fumes and second guessing my intuition. There is only so much brain power available. And that damn day job eats up 90% of it. What remains is 10% power diluted with hunger and exhaustion and frustration. There is so much in me I wish I could access. I’m locked out of my own head. It aches as I beat at the door and long to siphon power from somewhere else just to get these creative juices flowing. I can’t do everything, especially when I’m tired and hungry and metaphorically seasick.
And so, I’m a basket case.
I’m sometimes unstable as I fumble through each day of life trying to figure it all out. I’m a hopeless mess, chaos whipping through nature. I sometimes leave the stove on, the mail is piling up on the counter, the laundry basket is more like a mountain, the ‘rona is raging, I lost my face mask, 3 agents still have my manuscript, I drink too much diet coke, my pre-quarantine pants probably don’t fit, I have 6 meetings tomorrow, I just got bit by a mosquito, I forgot to eat lunch today, the dog wants a walk, part of me wants to give up on my novel, I can’t figure out how to start something new, I try to do too much at once, I’m constantly pretending I know what I’m doing, I’m an adult in disguise, and I’m not really sure my face remembers what makeup is anymore.
I’m a basket case.
And I’m on a teetertotter.
I’m a case of baskets about to barf on a seesaw.
But it’s fine. Because we’re all basket cases at one point or another. We all feel overwhelmed sometimes, and we all handle it differently. I type senseless words until my fingers decide I’m done. Then I read and laugh and wonder who let me become an adult, and I press Post, because I know I’m not alone in how I feel, and I want you to know you’re not alone either.
There’s room in my case for more baskets, if you care to join me.
What is it about adults and junk? Why do we suddenly struggle to get rid of things we probably won’t ever need? Perhaps adulting means always considering the “what if” and ensuring you are prepared for any possible situation life may toss your way. “Why get rid of this only to have to buy one later?” In theory, it’s an ingenious concept, until you’re shoulder-deep in crap.
I always said I’d never do it, and I’m not really sure how it happened, but suddenly, I had a junk drawer. Because adults keep EVERYTHING. From random nuts and bolts, to a stack of pretty solid cardboard boxes, to old flower pots, to the slide from our first swing set, and of course a couple extra car doors hanging out in the garage.
It’s all collecting dust.
Because adults have the hardest time getting rid of shit they don’t need.
But they might.
“Looks like you’ve got your new speakers all hooked up!” I said cheerfully as I leapt off the stairs and pranced into the living room.
“And they sound goooood,” Mike smiled, adjusting a wire in the back. “Wait till I play you this song!”
As my husband continued to tinker with the speakers, I began collecting all the discarded pieces of plastic and ripped instruction manuals (because who reads those?).
“Should I take these big boxes down to the burn pile?” I asked, dragging a box nearly as tall as me into the kitchen.
“Um,” Mike started, squinting at the box. “I mean, it’s a really nice box…”
It’s a really…nice…BOX? IT’S A BOX!
But apparently to an adult, it’s basically a pristine storage unit.
And I fell for it.
“It is a pretty box,” I agreed, looking it up and down. “We could keep some good shit in here.”
“That’s what I’m saying!” Mike exclaimed. “Put it in the garage. We’ll use them for something good.”
And they’re still there. Stacked neatly in the corner. 12 months later. We’re not using them.
But we might.
“Babe! I scored big at the junk yard today!” Mike announced two years ago as he kicked off his boots.
“Oh yeah?” I asked, stirring a pot of spaghetti.
“Two Equinox doors, no rust, no dents. Dirt cheap.”
“That’s awesome! …but… you’re not working on an Equinox right now…?”
“Yeah, but, I might!”
And there they sit, in the garage, waiting for the day we get an Equinox with some messed up doors.
“What should I do with all these Allen wrenches they gave us?” I asked as I finished assembling our new patio furniture last spring.
“Well don’t get rid of them,” Mike advised, carrying the last chair out the door. “You never know when you need Allen’s help.”
“Good point,” I agreed, stashing them in what became our official kitchen junk drawer.
Don’t lie and tell me you don’t have one of those. Every single adult has a drawer exclusively dedicated to the random shit we won’t get rid of.
Cheap Allen wrenches from the “some assembly required” crap we bought on Amazon. Random bolts and washers we found on the floor that probably go to something important so we better keep them for when we figure it out. A Tupperware of random batteries that might be good and might be dead, we’re not sure, but we’ll never test them and curse like sailors when they don’t work in a pinch. A small collection of Wonder Bread twist ties, because Lord knows I can never see them once they hit the granite countertop and I will need a spare. Several charms for wine glass stems, because I might make some friends one day and host a big wine party and we’ll need to tell apart each other’s Cabernet. Keys. So. Many. Keys. Where do they go? I’m not really sure. But I might need to get into things one day, and I’ll be glad I have all these keys. Finally, a random assortment of branded Chapsticks, bottle openers, and hand sanitizers. Chapped lips are no joke, so an infinite supply of free Chapstick is just responsible. You never pass up a free bottle opener, and let’s face it, who’s laughing about all the hand sanitizers now as we’re in the midst of a pandemic?
So yeah, I guess I did unexpectedly fall into the stereotype that adults cannot get rid of the junk they’ll never need.
PSA: NEVER ask a couple when they plan to have children. You have no idea what they’re going through.
And you know what?
It’s none of your business.
The stereotypical perception of adulting tells us we must be professionals. Adults are organized. They’re ambitious. They’re mature, they’re financially independent, they’re homeowners.
If you’ve gained nothing else from my blog, I hope you take away the fact that there is no solid definition of adulting. No one is doing this perfectly. Adults are not always mature. They might try to be professional, but don’t always succeed. We make mistakes. Our ambitions are all different, money is complicated, and owning or renting your home has nothing to do with your ability to adult successfully. We don’t always know what we’re doing. We don’t all do it the same. And that’s okay! Good, even!
Just because you are an adult does NOT mean you are expected to become a parent.
Somehow, we’re halfway through 2020 and society still squints at a married woman in her late 20’s and wonders why she hasn’t popped out a kid yet. (Popped… Like it’s that simple.)
And there are still those who think it’s okay to come right out and ask you about your timeline for procreation.
“So when are you guys popping out a kid?” a friend asked us over dinner.
I could feel a poisonous concoction of anger and annoyance swirling in my abdomen and I clenched my fists.
You know what, bro, maybe we’re trying to pop out a kid, but haven’t had luck yet. Or I could have decided that I now hate kids. I could be heartbroken over a loss. Maybe money isn’t in order yet, or we just really love saving it. Perhaps I’m just hyper-focused on a career at this stage in my life. It could be an overwhelming combination of all these things.
Or, imagine this, it could be NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!
Stop asking me.
“We’re enjoying our money right now,” I responded half-honestly, taking a sip of beer and averting my eyes.
“Kids aren’t that expensive,” he pressed, tickling his own baby’s chin. The child gurgled, and grinned, and I would have thought it was adorable if I wasn’t so pissed.
“I could afford an entire herd,” I countered, Italian temper flaring with my nostrils.
“She just means we’re enjoying the freedom,” my husband, Mike, hastily clarified as he kicked me under the table. “We leave for vacation in a few weeks.”
“Ah, yes, this is true,” our friend sighed. “You do lose that freedom to pick up and go whenever you’d like.”
I opened my mouth, a snarky retort sizzling on my tongue, but a glare from Mike sealed my lips. I sighed. “We’ll get there eventually,” I said dismissively, waving at the waitress for the check.
To be fair, Mike and I are the last of all our friends to have children. I get it. Everyone’s curious. I imagine them all whispering about us, asking what the other has heard about our plans for the future.
“So what’s up with Kaitlin and Mike? Are they planning on having children? Does Mike want children? Kaitlin has always wanted lots of babies. What are they waiting for? What have you heard? She’s running out of time. It must be hard seeing everyone else with children.”
That’s all in my head. Those conversations might be happening between friends and coworkers and family. They might not be. It doesn’t really matter either way, because our plans are just that: OUR plans. Not theirs, not society’s, OURS.
I understand curiosity. I understand we’ve been conditioned to expect the natural progression of relationships. We meet. We date. We fall in love. We get married. We procreate.
I’m not the first woman to point out that things don’t work that way anymore. The modern woman doesn’t have to be married to have a child. She doesn’t have to have a child when she’s married. She doesn’t have to get married at all, ever. She doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to do, and society’s natural progression means nothing to her.
“When’s the wedding?” “When are you having children?” “When is baby #2? “Are you going to try again?” “How many kids do you guys what?” “Are you trying for any babies yet?” “When are you due?” (ALWAYS a bad idea if you don’t know her.)
Sometimes, these questions can be painful to hear, hard to answer, complicated to consider. There are so many factors that influence whether a couple has children or not. We should feel comfortable discussing them when we want, and I don’t want to stop the conversation around the hard stuff, but we should never feel obligated to participate in that conversation and we shouldn’t be pressured to fit into a standard.
The reason why Mike and I do not yet have any children is inconsequential. There may not even be a reason. Maybe I’m fine. Maybe I’m not. It doesn’t matter, really.
Don’t ask me.
And if someone asks you, you don’t have to answer. Talk about it if you want, if you’re comfortable, or shut it down if you don’t. That is yours to own.
We can be badass adults with or without children. And we don’t need pressure from anyone when considering that step.
Adulting is running a virtual training like a boss bitch after something just died in the living room.
Let’s back up.
COVID-19 caused millions of businesses and individuals to turn to virtual platforms for learning and development. Video learning in the corporate world is a new standard as we strive to continue “business as usual.” To maintain a training program in a simulated environment, my team needed to teach our Business Trainers how to facilitate virtually.
Like the professional adult I am, I stepped forward and took the lead on accomplishing this training. I spent weeks designing a Zoom course to arm our trainers with the tools they need to successfully transfer knowledge virtually. I crafted a PowerPoint and drafted a script. I built polling questions and collaborated with others to create a seamless training experience that not only teaches skills, but also demonstrates those skills. I wanted the responsibility and I craved the visibility to advance my career. I accepted the work and the stress and was excited to prove myself.
I’m naturally an anxious individual. I’m typically very comfortable speaking in front of a group, but I over-prepare to get to that level of ease. I rehearse every slide, every line of my script, every possible question I may face, and every conceivable technical difficulty scenario the universe could throw at me.
Every scenario, except the one that actually happens.
First, I live in BFE. “Live in the woods!” They said. “It’ll be fun!” They said. Yeah. Until I can’t get a decent internet connection while working from home.
So, knowing I had a big training to execute, I packed up my office and went to my sister’s. Her internet connection is reliable, and I knew that would ease any anxiety I had around dropping off the call.
I rehearsed twice that morning before it was time to train. I had it all blocked out. I knew when I’d glance at my notes and when I’d stare at the webcam to simulate eye contact. I did my hair, painted my face, and even put on pants. I sat at the kitchen table and carefully laid my notes around my laptop. A neutral wall was my perfect background. Everything was flawless, with the clock showing 5 minutes until training time.
Prepared af, like a boss.
A dog pushed her way through the doggy door in the kitchen and trotted by me. I barely noticed. Then suddenly, a shrill bark joined by a low growl startled me. The dogs had been so good all morning, I had almost forgotten they were in here. My Doberman was standing in the corner of the room near the living room couch, snarling. My sister’s two Brittany’s were unexpectedly yipping, fighting, howling, and sprinting in circles.
No one had joined the meeting yet, but I muted my mic and hollered to my sister, “My training is starting! Can you take care of them?!”
She hurried from her office into the room and approached the dogs.
Then she screamed.
The entire room was a whirling tornado of barks and shouts, and my anxiety shot through the roof.
“What?!” I asked, shutting off my webcam and leaping to my feet. I approached the pack of squealing mammals and bent down to the carpet next to the couch.
One of the Brittanies had caught, killed, and brought in a bleeding ground squirrel, which now stained the tan carpet. For just a moment, my heart broke for the tiny creature, and my first instinct was to help the situation.
“Oh, my God, this isn’t happening,” I mumbled. I tried to gain control of the room as blood seeped into the fibers of the carpet, but it was no use. I didn’t have the time to be the sister version of myself. I didn’t even have time to be the damage control version of myself. I needed to remain my professional self, completely on, fully armed, ready to facilitate this training in less than five minutes.
I made a split-second adult decision.
I scooped up all my notes and my laptop. I dashed up the stairs and locked myself in the first bedroom I came to. I stood there, my mind reeling, studying the space. There was a window and pile of old Christmas decorations on one side of the room, a bed in the middle, and an empty tan wall on the other side.
I didn’t have a choice.
I knelt at the bed and set up shop, with the blank wall behind me. My knees sank in as I tried to find some form of comfort in my new space. I did my best to smooth my frizzing hair, then I turned the webcam back on.
Just as I finished reorganizing my notes, my first participant arrived, and I forced calm through my system. I may have been chaos inside, but outside I had to be a professional.
As the training progressed, I struggled to catch my breath, but kept a smile across my jaw and pressed on. About halfway through, the temperature was inching toward scorching in that tiny bedroom. As the sweat rolled down my back, I realized the register must be sealed, and no cool air was circulating into this room on the hottest day of the year. I had locked myself in a sauna and was kneeling on the floor, trying to act like everything was fine.
It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.
Adulting is running a virtual training like a boss bitch after something just died in the living room. I was breathless and sweaty, but I executed to the best of my ability, despite the unpredictable disorder that tore apart the calm aura I spent weeks fabricating. As a professional, as an adult, we must always expect the unexpected. No matter how much we prepare or how often we rehearse, there will always be things we never anticipated. It’s not these unprecedented incidents that define us, but how we handle them. That’s what makes us who we are and teaches us what adulting truly means.
And don’t worry— we managed to get the blood out of the carpet.
Writing is a struggle this week. I blog to offer a relatable view of the world around us and a humorous escape from reality. If I can bring even a twitch of a smile or a tickle of relief, that’s enough for me. I just want you to know you’re not alone in what you’re feeling.
Lately the world seems to be falling apart around us. Everything is chipping, delicate disaster shifting into place. Terrible current events are a whirlwind, whisking us up into a cyclone and dumping us onto concrete. I’m left wondering how I can possibly write something lighthearted when horrible things are happening.
The right words don’t exist. To my readers who have dealt with any adversity or inequality, know that I stand with you.
If you feel stuck, you’re not alone. If you feel lost, you’re not alone. If you’re heartbroken, you’re not alone. If you don’t know what to do, you’re not alone. If you’re angry, you’re certainly not alone.
The best I can offer now is this: Love thy neighbor.
Love thy any nationality, any ethnicity, any color neighbor. It doesn’t matter what’s on the outside.
“You’ve come to the right place,” I reply, drinking directly from the bottle of Cabernet after shoving a handful of Cheetos in my mouth.
Even when I feel like a complete basket case myself, I somehow carry the ability to guide others through the bumps in their journey. The problem is my incapacity to follow my own guidance and I find myself stuck in a pothole over which I instructed everyone else to leap.
Is that weakness?
Sometimes I think it might be physically impossible to take our own advice. It’s like something that goes against our nature. We couldn’t possibly take something we already have.
We’re all just passing around the same advice like an endless game of hot potato.
“Shit! I don’t want this! Here—you! Take this advice!”
And where will we all be when the music stops?
You know, for someone who is quick to advise reaching out to others and even wrote a novel with this concept as a central theme, I sure do a damn good job of closing myself off.
Maybe that’s my adult rationality overflowing. I tell myself the things that bother me are invalid or silly, and that there are those with far greater problems. I twist reality until I believe keeping pain inside is strength. So, I bottle it up and don’t reach out. Then I’m a warm bottle of soda that comes closer and closer to explosion with every shake until one day I blow my top in a cosmic meltdown, spraying everyone in the vicinity with the stickiness inside me.
Let me pass you this hot potato of advice before the music cuts and I’m stuck with it in my sweaty palms.
Adulting does not mean sealing away your emotions nor hiding them from the people closest to you. Never be afraid of your feelings, and reach out to those around you for help. The moments following an emotional detonation bring unimaginable relief as my emotions fizz out around me.
Maybe I’d do better to gradually release the carbonation inside me instead of waiting to burst.