“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.
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.
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.
I am officially on day “Finding Forks in my Paperwork” of quarantine.
I am officially on day “Finding Forks in my Paperwork” of quarantine.
I must admit, the two things I am doing most throughout lockdown are eating and writing. Sometimes even at the same time. And there’s nothing classier than licking molten cheese off your keyboard.
For those of us fortunate enough to be working from home, I am certain many will struggle with the transition back to normal office life after the ‘rona rescinds and we emerge from the darkness of our homes. In a way, we have been able to take a vacation from adulting. While it will be nice to rekindle a sense of normalcy and reconnect with the world, there are several things I am completely dreading about returning to corporate.
I must wear pants at all times.
I should probably shower daily.
It is most likely not acceptable to have The Office playing in the background as I work.
Pooping in a public restroom again is going to suck.
A 3 pm desk cocktail is probably frowned upon.
My dog is going to wonder why I don’t want to hang out with her anymore.
I will be judged for keeping a party-size box of extra toasty Cheez-Itz on my desk.
It’s peopley there.
It won’t be sanitary to lick the molten cheese off my work keyboard.
People probably will not appreciate finding forks in the filing cabinets nearly as much as I do.
Here’s to the transition back, whenever that may be. Our reality is quite unpredictable right now. The best we can do is stay positive, take it one day at a time, and laugh at the forks we find along the way.
We don’t know what we’re doing. We’re a bizarre, babbling, bumbling band of baboons trying to figure it all out. But we’re not alone.
Adulting is this bizarre status we all thought we wanted. When we got it, we wanted to return it, but didn’t have the damn gift receipt. If anyone knows where I can exchange adulthood for childhood at the age of 28, please, for the love of God, let me know.
Sometimes, adulthood slowly creeps up on you. Here’s a list of twenty things that tell you that you are, in fact, adulting now. Good fricken luck.
Realizing how wrong you were to be in a hurry to grow up.
When consuming an entire bottle of wine in one sitting is normal.
Realizing boredom is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
When you start referring to technological advancement as a “Capitalistic Ploy.”
Accepting the frigid reality of having just 2 weeks’ vacation out of a 52-week year.
Choosing a movie on Netflix based upon its runtime so that you aren’t up past your bed time.
Doing laundry before you run out of clean underwear.
When you start referring to the teenagers in the streets as “hooligans.”
That moment you’re standing motionless in front of the wall of toilet paper at the grocery store, trying to figure out what the best deal is.
That moment you’re standing motionless in front of the wall of toilet paper at the grocery store, because it’s fucking empty thanks to the ‘rona.
Having the daily “we have food at home” talk with yourself on the way home from work.
When “putting on your big girl panties” is both literal and figurative.
When talking to yourself becomes “consulting the expert.”
Using adult-like excuses to get out of plans you really regret making.
i.e. “Sorry, I can’t make it, I have to meet with my financial planner this afternoon.”
Realizing just how wrong you were when you refused to nap as a child.
Pretending you don’t have any money so that you can keep your money.
Buying a Costco membership.
Thrusting your eyes open and panicking at 6 AM when you hear the garbage truck coming down the street.
When you regularly use words like “refinance,” “equity,” and “investment.”
Developing a professional verbal filter and corresponding dictionary.
“Per my last email” = “Bitch, can’t you read?”
“I’m fine.” = “Fuck off.”
“I would be happy to sign a Non-Disclosure agreement…” = “You can keep your shit.”
“I can work with it and see.” = “You don’t know what you’re talking about, but I will make it happen because I’m awesome.”
“I will prioritize this.” = “I’ve got so much shit on my plate, but don’t worry, I can make your problems my top priority right now.”
“I need to use a sick day.” = “I’m completely healthy and just don’t want to see ya’lls faces today.”
“Thanks for that valuable input.” = “STFU.”
“Let’s do lunch.” = “Wanna GTFO and talk shit about everyone in this meeting?”
“What a creative concept.” = “How far up your ass did you reach for this idea?”
“While I appreciate your feedback…” = “Yeah, well, that’s, like, your opinion, Margaret.”
“I never thought about that…” = “No one asked you.”
“What’s on your plate for today?” = “Get ready, I’m about to drop a bomb on your entire kitchen table.”
“I am happy to spearhead this project.” = “Move over, bitch, let me drive.”
“Allow me to process this.” = “Why are you talking to me before I’ve had my coffee?”
Like, follow, and share if you can relate. We don’t know what we’re doing. We’re a bizarre, babbling, bumbling band of baboons trying to figure it all out.
Amid the Corona Virus pandemic, it is easy to say the world’s introverts are in their PRIME. Working from home, calling the dog a co-worker, and having the ultimate excuse to turn down plans? Boom. An introvert’s paradise. Sign me the hell up.
“How is everyone doing?” My boss asked the team over Skype one morning. It was about 3 weeks into quarantine, and I had long settled into my home office. My whiteboard wall was littered with notes and sketches for projects, my desk supported 3 laptops, I had the world’s largest cup of coffee in my hands, and I wasn’t wearing pants.
I was living my best life.
Let’s face it. Still living my best life. Right now.
Silence stretched across the call, and I had to check my connection to make sure I was still on.
“Um,” a team member spoke up. “I’m doing okay. It’s…weird.”
“Yes,” someone else agreed. “I’m really starting to miss people.”
“The social piece of things is certainly a challenge right now,” my boss affirmed.
Each team member took turns describing the challenges they were facing as they worked from home. It was clear everyone was yearning for a change in scenery and dying for some people time, and we were only three weeks in.
“Kaitlin, how about you?” My boss asked me.
I fumbled to unmute myself, the delay in my response just long enough to be awkward.
I’m not sure if I do this to myself on purpose, or if I really have no control over myself in social situations. It probably would have been easier to agree with the group and commiserate, but I was completely in my element.
“I’m set up pretty well over here,” I continued. “I just need some faster internet and I could do this forever!”
They all chuckled uncomfortably, but it wasn’t a joke. To be clear, I certainly do not wish for an indefinite pandemic which keeps us trapped in our homes. I recognize this situation isn’t for everyone, and there are those seriously struggling with isolation. But personally, I would flourish working at home full-time. My home office is considerably less… peopley.
On several occasions, my husband and I have talked about how we would thrive in an apocalyptic situation. I don’t think we’re alone…by the way toilet paper and ammunition flew of the shelves last month, I’d say there’s an entire colony of people expecting the ‘rona to morph into the zombie apocalypse. (Toilet Paper? Really? If shit hits the fan, I think wiping your ass is going to be the least of your worries.) Millions of Americans are just waiting for the moment the victims of the Corona Virus rise from the grave so they can finally shout, “I TOLD YOU SO!”
Mike and I are by no means “preppers,” and we do not actually believe the zombie apocalypse is imminent, but we do think we’d be damn good at it. I can see us farming our property and hunting the deer that pass through. We would barrel through town in a massive truck to raid for supplies, use our Doberman Pinscher for security, and develop a deadly aim with our rifles and pistols. Basically, we’d be like characters straight out of The Walking Dead, except without the senseless drama and complete inability to have a moment of happiness.
As the zombies close in, we’d be standing in the center, back to back, unloading our mags in perfect rhythm, this fantastic husband and wife team taking on hell together.
“Oh my God,” I’d shout back at Mike. “I think you just shot Carl!”
“That zombie was Carl?!” Mike would exclaim, firing another round. “Eh…he was a douche bag, anyway.”
As the clock displays 5:00, I shuffle down the stairs and into the kitchen. (I may or may not be wearing pants, and it’s fine, because, ‘Rona.) I scratch my Doberman Pinscher’s head, then rummage through the wine fridge.
Today, I am uncorking this bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon because I am waiting.
I am waiting for a closing date on my refinance.
I am waiting for someone to come hook up my fiber internet.
I am waiting for two agents to get back to me about my manuscript.
I am waiting for someone to finish building my pole barn.
I am waiting for my insurance company to call me back.
I am waiting for the credit union to mail me my stupid debit card.
I am waiting for quarantine to end.
I am waiting for that damn Amazon package.
I am waiting for warmer weather.
I am waiting for Susan at work to finally respond to my email.
I am waiting for Netflix to load, because I still have shitty internet.
I am waiting for my friend in Vietnam to wake up and see the hilarious meme I left on her Messenger.
I am waiting for this damn zit on my face to go away.
I am waiting for 10,000 followers to fly out my ass.
And my mind is exploding, because I am an adult who uses words like “refinance,” “fiber,” “building,” “agents,” “insurance,” “debit,” and “Quarantine” in complete, exasperated sentences while I drain an entire bottle of wine.
Sometimes it feels like all we do is wait. We are constantly anticipating the following moment, the coming week, the next greatest thing. We are waiting for this to end, for that to start, for this to come, for that to leave.
I think I’m waiting to stop waiting.
I am waiting for the day there is no longer anything to wait for.
“Ah yes,” I’ll tell them, looking philosophically into space as I sink my old bones into the memory. “The Age of No Pants.”
Can we all agree it is exceptionally difficult to pretend to be an adult when the world is on fire?
I’m feeling unsettled. My mind cannot quite process the Amazon driver wearing a facemask, or the dystopian line with 6 feet of space between each person outside Home Depot because they won’t let more than 75 in at a time. The lack of paper products on the grocery store shelves is mind-blowing, and my pizza delivery was left on my porch yesterday.
Social horror aside, I haven’t worn real pants in about three months, and that is not something adults do.
I should be keeping a journal of the events taking place throughout this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, because one day, my grandchildren will ask about it, and only one thing will stick out.
“What was it like living through a pandemic, Grandmother?” (For some reason, in my head, my grandchildren are British.)
“Ah yes,” I’ll tell them, looking philosophically into space as I sink my old bones into the memory. “The Age of No Pants.”
As a writer, it is no surprise I am naturally an introvert. I was born for social distancing. I love working my day job from home. I love hanging out with my dog and spending the evenings writing and 100%-ing Breath of the Wild while I drink a couple bottles of wine.
I love not wearing pants.
But I can’t even take myself seriously when I am sitting in a Zoom meeting knowing I am a business mullet. (Professional on the top, party on the bottom.)
The Age of No Pants aside, I think the question our grandchildren will most likely be asking is not about the pandemic itself, but life before the pandemic.
“What was it like before the world changed?”
Kind of the same. Kind of not.
I don’t know what will happen next…but I do know I can feel an imminent shift. We won’t come out of this shiny. We will crawl from it, squinting in new light.
Unpredictability is the scariest part of this, I think. But we’re not alone. We might be pantsless in our living room with only our cats and dogs and a few empty bottles of cabernet, but we’re not alone.
Drop me a follow for more on #adulting and “the ‘rona.” Some relatable, light-hearted reading is exactly what we need right now!
At this point, I’m damn good at juggling. Even as I type, I have about seven things floating above my head that I’m going to need to catch and toss again in a few seconds. I’ll use my feet if I must. It’s fine. I’ve done it before. I’ll be a clown in the circus, juggling my day job, my writing career, my family, my friends, my finances, my marketing, my diet, a facemask, and whatever else the universe decides to throw into the mix. Maybe it will just tell me to dance as I juggle. Move to the beat, swallow a sword, and tie your hands behind your back.
Everything is fine.
I’ve written before about how adulting can be a lot. But I think the burden gets a little heavier when the thing you want most is about two inches beyond the reach of your fingertips. And within the space of two inches is about 10,000 sets of eyes.
“So how long have you been writing?” The agent asked me as I relaxed a little in my seat. I had just pitched my speculative fiction novel, Aftershock, over a Zoom meeting, and he asked me to email him the entire manuscript.
Talk about thunderstruck.
We still had 4 minutes left, and my tongue couldn’t pluck a single coherent sentence from my brain. Perhaps he could tell I was internally sputtering like an engine starved for gas, so he took the lead, and we both accepted our fate would be four minutes of small talk.
“I’ve been writing my whole life,” I told him. “I have a blog, #adulting. Light-hearted humor and relatable stories.”
The agent lit up. “What’s the URL?” He asked.
I gave it to him and explained the premise.
“How many followers do you have?”
I stumbled. I spent hours last night reciting a pitch for Aftershock. I wasn’t anywhere close to pitching a #adulting project.
“Only a handful,” I admitted. Twenty-five, to be exact. Whoopie. (Also, love you guys.)
“I just spoke to an editor yesterday about wanting to do a project similar to this,” the agent enlightened.
I think my left lung sprang a leak. It blew around my ribcage like a flying balloon, and for once in my life, I did not have words.
“I love the idea. But for something like that to work, you’d need about 10,000 followers. Then we could talk.”
Oh, is that all? Dude, I don’t even have enough friends for each finger on my hand!
I can’t remember what I said next, but I must have said something, and I hope to sweet baby Jesus it wasn’t dumb.
“I’ve seen it done in a month,” he continued. “If you really go for it and you do it right, you can get 10,000 followers in a month.”
I am a fumbling fool trying to figure out what I am supposed to be doing with my life, and here I am, literally 9,975 people away from getting something I’ve wanted since the 4th grade.
Let me just place this red nose on my face and hop on a unicycle as I juggle.
And for my next trick? 10,000 followers will fly out my ass!
I’m about to start cranking some serious content, ya’ll. Because I want this more than anything in the world. Drop me a like and a follow. Share with your friends. Let’s turn this circus act into a dream and pull a book deal out of my hat.
It’s something we can spend and save, make and waste, choose and lose. We can have too much, but mostly have too little. Time can fly, and time can also crawl. It moves systematically forward but never backward, and it never, ever stops.
The concept of time makes my brain hurt sometimes. How can an hour seem to sluggishly drag by, while the last 28 years whirled by me, knocked me over, yanked me onward in its wake? It is stumbling to consider time lost and wasted is something we can never get back. And in those quiet, most precious moments that snuggle beside our hearts and leave a lingering imprint, we want so badly for time to stop. We long for it to halt in its tracks, pump the brakes, freeze around us in those minutes we wish to last forever.
But it won’t.
Time will always continue on, and it will shove you along with it, because it never leaves anything behind.
As children, time is something that just can’t seem to run fast enough. We can’t wait to grow up. We can’t wait for that vacation next month. We can’t wait for dinner. We. Can’t. Wait. Then suddenly we stop running and wish we could back up. We want to turn around, go back, do it all over, take it slower. But we can’t. Time’s magnetic field keeps pulling us onward.
As an adult, I never have enough time. 24 hours is not sufficient. I cannot work full-time, cook, clean, work out, home improve, walk the dog, grocery shop, get gas, water my plants, weed, mow, catch up on Stranger Things, call my mother, see my friends, scroll Facebook, make all those Pinterest projects, fold laundry, practice piano, write my novel, and get at least 7 hours of sleep in 24 hours! IT’S NOT POSSIBLE.
I’ve come to the conclusion that adulting means making time. Adults learn to prioritize and learn to function with little sleep and learn how to balance all the little things in life that pile up (like that massive pile of mail on my counter that I have no intention of going through any time soon). We have to make time and prioritize. We have to. Because time stops for no one. Prioritizing, like adulting in general, takes practice. Sometimes we’ll let things slip. Like the mail. Or the weeds. Sometimes even friends.
It seems more difficult to maintain friendships now, especially when we have different priorities, incomes, lifestyles, careers, schedules, and locations. It used to be so effortless. Texting and Facebooking daily came so naturally and we had all the time in the world to meet up for spur-of-the-moment Hobby Lobby extravaganzas. Now, suddenly, my evenings are packed with the above list while I dump extra energy into a new job and I save whatever I have left for the struggle to launch a writing career. We’ve all got lists like this. We all have our shit and sometimes it’s not fun. But it’s part of adulting and we make it work.
Watching those around me grow and blossom into adults over time (even if they feel like they’re faking it sometimes) has been fascinating. I’m an observer. That is, I watch people. While the greatest obstacle for me is to put in a syllable in casual conversation, watching it all happen comes naturally. I watch the way their lips move as they talk, or the habitual gestures they use as they tell a story. The way they smile can be worth more than the words they utter. Perhaps most interesting of all is the speaker’s eyes. It’s the level of intensity swirling within them that really tells the story. An observer soaks in every word and detail, storing it away. I don’t only learn about the speaker; I learn about the entire human race.
I’ve watched many different people from different backgrounds and with different aspirations develop into adults and become parents. In fact, my husband and I are one of the only couples within my friend group without children. I think there’s an irony here, because everyone always thought I’d be first. I’ve always wanted a whole pack of babies, my own baseball team to fill the rooms of this house. As I observe everyone around me, I think maybe I should be feeling like I’m running out of time, like there’s this biological clock slowly ticking away as the world continues to spin.
But I don’t.
For the first time in my adult life, I feel like I have all the time in the world. Or, maybe I feel like I simply don’t have the time to take that leap yet. I have time, I don’t have time, who knows? Like I said, the concept of time makes my brain hurt.
Adulting doesn’t mean becoming a parent. I will, one day, when I can figure out how to adjust all those priorities and fit my large to-do list into 24 hours. But in the meantime, I will fluidly move with time, spin with the earth, observe the beautiful transitions around me, and leave the mail in a pile on the counter.