Expenses: Rent. Insurance. Tuna fish. Wireless internet. A new dishwasher. Cat food. Tire rotation. Heat. Loofas…
Chores: Start laundry. Unload dishwasher. Dust base boards. Scrub toilets. Mop bathroom. Wipe counter-tops….
The lists go on. You see, I graduated college in May, moved away and married in June, started a job in July and adopted two pet cats in September. Adulthood is all but slapping me in the face. I’m itching for some kind of routine that keeps me home in the evenings, cooking and sipping wine over tv. There are some nights of cooking and sipping, but most evenings sand us thin between the rigor of commitment: to graduate classes, to prayer groups, to friends, to cleaning house and laundering clothes.
And of course, our nights would not be so full if we didn’t spend our days gainfully employed. And by gainfully, I mean paid just enough to live but not enough to whittle debt or world travel. That’s just part of being young though, right? Perhaps or, more likely, it is being an adult.
Much talk circulates at my age about being a grown-up. Go ahead person over thirty, smirk knowingly or roll your eyes in disgust at my ignorance. Here’s what I think anyway: Being a grown-up is hard.
But I am not afraid of a hard life. I’m afraid of a life stunted by the reality that life is hard.
I’ve witnessed many lives in the years spent reaching adulthood. Lives, I believe, lived out of fear. Maybe it isn’t always the fear of a hard life, but I can see beneath that fear, the greater ice-berg fear that difficulty and struggle are permanent, damning conditions. And following only shortly behind that fear, is the illusion that we’re entitled to ease. That a good life is the same as an easy life.
Here’s some news I’ve picked up: difficulty and struggle may very well be permanent, but whether they are damning is a choice. And ease is neither a promise nor an inheritance.
Maybe I don’t absolutely adore my job. Maybe I long for more time to sit on the couch. Perhaps I am physically tired from this persistent cold, and my husband is haggard from sleeplessness and stress. Or maybe there is something in your life much more consuming and painful.
Being sanded down by adulthood, letting the grain make us dull, that’s easy. Recognizing the difficulty and struggle in life, and choosing to let it make us grander, more intricate individuals of character and integrity… that is what’s really hard.
Facing adulthood, I think of life like a poorly planned party: lots of expectations and everyone dressed up in fancy clothes, all to find a mediocre buffet and cash bar. That’s not to say it’s hopeless or unfortunate. It just is what you make of it. Will you mourn the cold chicken and dry chocolate cake, or will you put on some tunes and bust a move?