As the year in which I will turn the big 3-0 enters its second month, I’ve realized something. We talk a lot about how adult responsibilities are trying and we don’t feel totally equipped for them. Something about the millennial disposition makes us not totally able to call ourselves adults. We don’t feel like we’ve earned it. Perhaps because the societally accepted markers of adulthood are not things we’re all doing in our mid-twenties like a lot of our parents before us. More and more of us are holding off on marriage, children, homeownership, and the like, and it feels like, because of that, we’re not fully formed people. We’re stuck in some sort of arrested development, an extended adolescence.
This could be because media outlets are constantly saying that we, as a generation, aren’t doing what we’re supposed to. And while to an extent we ignore it, trying to embrace that our 30 doesn’t look like our parents, I think for a lot of us there’s a feeling that we are behind.
Until recently, I also felt like that. I thought that in order to be a fully formed adult, I had to have plan, something that had a big goal at the end. But in the past few months, I’ve realized that the great thing about being an adult, about being in charge of your own life, is that you don’t have to have a plan.
The past couple of months have been about embracing the freedom that comes with being in control of your own self. I have realized that what I choose to do with my time is entirely up to me. This sounds a little simple, but realizing that I don’t owe my time to anyone but myself was kind of huge for me. Sure I have responsibilities and obligations; I’ve got to pay my rent, and in order to do that I have to get to work on time. But since Zelda and I returned from Thailand, I feel like I’ve been more deliberate, and more at ease, with the things I choose to do — and, importantly, the things I choose not to do.
As simple as it sounds, realizing that no one is going to care if I have cereal for dinner or spend my Saturday in bed watching Netflix has led to a big shift in how I live my life. There is no external force policing my time. And so lately I have been relishing the fact that the goals I set for myself are quite literally just for myself. I can learn to figure skate, and how fast I progress is completely and entirely up to me. I can drive to Canada for less than 24 hours. I can learn to cook because I want to, not because society says I should already know how. The world is not going to end if I burn the glaze the for tenderloin (which I did…and I didn’t do so great with the tenderloin either, but that’s a tale for another day). And each and every goal I do reach, as slow as they may be going, feels even greater because I chose to pursue it.
There’s freedom in realizing that when Zelda and I have a deadline on this blog and life gets in the way, we can make the decision to push it back, and we don’t have to feel guilty about that. We started doing this to have a fun project together, and that’s still the only real goal. Maybe the most adult thing one can learn is that you have live your life for you. When the things you’ve decided to devote your time to need to be rearranged or priorities need to be reordered, that’s perfectly fine. You’re living your life in way that works best for you. And you never, ever have to apologize for that.