One of the worst things we do, I think, is convincing ourselves that our problems are all part and parcel of being an adult. I tweeted recently about how tired I was and someone left a reply along the lines of ‘welcome to adulthood’. They didn’t mean anything by it, but I thought, “no!”
We need to stop convincing ourselves that being an adult means killing ourselves, because it shouldn’t be. These past few days have been exhausting. I’ve been physically and mentally drained. Last week, I remember waiting for a bus and biting my lip to stop it from trembling. I remember blinking away tears. I remember not talking because I couldn’t stop my voice from doing that weird thing it does before you start crying.
I remember waking up hating myself. Thinking about all the different ways my life could just end and hating myself for hating the universe for not putting me in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I hated myself. I hated that I couldn’t love going to work. I hated that words had become the enemy. I hated that I rarely read because I was tired of letters. I was tired or reading and writing. Being told to do this and that. Having deadlines.
I hated that I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t meet deadlines. I couldn’t deliver as promised. I needed a break. But whenever one job ended, and I gave myself a break and took a nap or watched a film, I hated myself for not getting the other job done.
What was I doing? Why couldn’t I take control of my body and mind? Why was I wasting time?
Why was my mind and body so fucking exhausted?
Is this what it means to be an adult?
We all have jobs. I have a good thing going for me. I don’t have an 8-5 five days a week job. I don’t have bills to pay or groceries to buy or meals to cook. I have a good life and yet I was struggling. Why?
Shouldn’t I just stop fighting it? I should give in to it. Accept adulthood for what it is. Get my shit together. Work even harder. Do my very best and then some more. Stop giving myself breaks. This is what adulthood is about, isn’t it?
I’m 25. I have never had a fulltime job. I signed a contract for the first time just last year, despite having worked more or less since I left school in 2012. While my friends got into relationships and got married and had kids, I wondered how they had time to even go on a date. Hell, how did they find time to even works towards a date?
How do you find the energy to have a social life? How to find the time to do anything but work and hate yourself for not working more?
Did being an adult mean I had to strip my life of anything that wasn’t somehow related to work?
I’m tired. I need breaks. I need to prioritize the rights things, even if it means telling someone you can’t rewrite that article for the fourth time simply because you’ve made plans to meet your friends. Even if it means saying you can’t be at office five days a week and take on more work because you want to be at home with your cats.
I was doing things wrong. I was taking more things than I can handle because I thought that that’s what adults do. But what adults do is listen to their minds and their bodies and make others listen to them.
An adult won’t be a slave to their jobs or society or their parents. An adult will fight for themselves, even if that fight is against themselves.
I miss pouring my heart out into blogs. I miss writing what I felt instead of quoting other people and discussing topics that didn’t personally affect me. I miss what words used to mean to me.
There was a tweet going around recently about what you wanted to be when you were five. People answered with scientist or astronaut or teacher. So many career ambitions. Some achieved as an adult. Some left behind in childhood.
When I was five, I didn’t want to be anything. Not because I wanted to be anything and everything but because I didn’t know you had to be something when you grew up. Sure, both my parents had jobs but at five, this just meant not seeing my parents for most of the day. It meant spending hours with my grandmother. It meant playing with my cousins all day.
It never meant that I too, would someday have to work. It never occurred to me at five that I needed to be anything but what I was already.
And my heart breaks that I forgot this along the way. I know I need a job to earn money and live a ‘comfortable’ life. But what I forgot was that this shouldn’t come in exchange for who I was. I needed to find a way to work for that comfortable life while still being happy, while still doing the things I love.
This is what it means to be an adult.