The More Important Meaning Behind “Adulting”

As a very new college graduate, I have recently entered the real-life, adult world. 

Work went from a 6 hour retail shift, or a 10 hour bartending shift, to waking up at 4:30 (yes, in the morning) and heading downtown for a 9.5 hour work day with a 2 hour round trip commute. 

Papers went from research projects and book analyses to evaluation and (eventually) promotional panels. 

Bills that were once just a car payment and a phone bill, increased to rent, groceries, gas, utilities, train tickets, and that thing you forgot at the store for the sixth time. 

We make jokes about how “adulting” sucks. How it means getting up early, getting dressed up, and going to work in an office all day. How it means conference calls and meetings. How it means running endless errands and paying endless bills. How it means putting on our big girl pants and getting shit done when all we want to do is eat too much pizza and watch Gilmore Girls for the (literal) one hundredth time. 

But it is SO much more than that. 

1. It is being mature and kind; 

Every single person you meet has a story. Be more mindful next time you yell at a coworker for a mistake, before you attack your server for spilling your drink, before you make a mean comment to someone because of your own grumpy mood. You never know what someone is going through. 

Sure, they could just be a mean person, but never stoop to their level; kill them with kindness and do it with a smile. 

As my friend Tim McGraw says, “ALWAYS stay humble and kind.” 

2. Actually CARE about people. 

Don’t ask how they’re doing if you don’t really wanna hear it.
When did “Hey! How are you!?” become an awkward filler for small talk? Start asking, “No, really…how are you? Tell me about your day!” Show people you care, show people you want to know how their day went and how they are feeling. Something as simple as that can turn a person’s day around. 

I watched a Ted Talk recently about your happiness level and how it relates to your spending habits. They found that people who spent their money on others were significantly happier than those who didn’t. I could not agree more, although it’s hard for us all to realize that sometimes. 

Give that apple or granola bar you didn’t eat at work to a homeless person on the street. Buy your loved ones a little gift or mail them a cute card just because you’re thinking about them.

3. Let go of grudges before they consume you. 

Maybe you were betrayed, maybe they spilled a secret, maybe they lied to you, maybe they were just plain mean. 

Let. It. Go. 

Often times, grudges become so strong that you forget why you’re even mad. Be thankful you had memories. Be thankful you were able to learn something. 

Revenge, vengeance, and hatred get you nothing but high blood pressure, a guilty conscience, and an ugly cloud full of negativity over your head. 

People change; forgive, but never forget what those experiences taught you.

4. Being successful because of your own actions is the greatest feeling. 

Sure, waking up early sucks sometimes, and some days you just wanna throw on sweats and forget about real life, but I promise you, it will be worth it. It’s time to put on your big kid pants and hop to it! You are officially in control of your life, don’t let yourself down. However you measure success, you will get there. Keep working, keep trying, and never give up. 

I’ll take adulting over the alternatives any day.

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