I just heard it again yesterday: “Adulting is hard.”
We all can relate to that reality, but the mode of expression always brings a chuckle to my internal self.
During my college years, I remember watching the rise of this verbal extension (adulting) with some amusement, and I’ve wondered if there’s ever been a generation with more peculiar ideas of maturity.
Sometimes “adulting” is celebrated. Certainly much of its’ fame comes from millennials congratulating themselves for “behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult…especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks. ”
Some theorize that the phenomenon springs from emerging millennials coming to major life stages at an older age than preceding generations did. Yet whatever the origin, lately I keep hearing people wish for the “good old days of childhood.” The thrill of adult liberation seems to have decayed into a doleful mourning over the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood.
Childhood represents to many, a state of carefree, uninhibited freedom—every need being met without them having to lift a finger. Yet I don’t share the generational nostalgia. Sure, my childhood didn’t represent freedom or security. It represented powerlessness and vulnerability. But there is more to my divergence of opinion than this.
I love the feeling of growth!
There is nothing like the exhilaration of emerging into deeper understandings, triumphing over obstacles, shaking free of insecurities and coming more fully into oneself. Maturity is golden; and if childhood is the beauty of innocence, age is the glory of wisdom. In spite of pains, responsibilities and hardships, I would not go back to being myself at any other stage.
It is true that modern society presents many unprecedented challenges to young and old alike. Yet is it possible that to some degree we’ve lost sight of the genuine glory of maturing? Maturity itself is in fact becoming a very rare thing.
It seems that people like the idea of maturity more than its reality. We may celebrate wisdom, but rarely the process through which it is necessarily developed. That process is difficult and painful—like a blade of grass pushing its tender head through the city sidewalk.
This morning, like many mornings, I woke up with the weight of earth over my head. Dark, like the sunless soil beneath the street, my thoughts were overwhelmed with the chaos of personal, extra-personal, and financial crises. Uncertainties are plentiful. Struggles always seem to come in a hailstorm.
Everyday I say to myself that today is a great day, that anything is possible, and good things are coming to me; but it’s hard to believe that when so much that is coming is hard!
Sometimes it is tears that water the soil our masterpiece grows from.
So I remind myself that every challenge is an opportunity. Good things coming don’t always feel good in the coming. But it’s courage that is needed. We must take the time we need, and have patience, and get up again, again, again.
In a world of convenience-everything, where we’ve labored to make things faster, easier, and more comfortable, we must somehow remember that ease is the enemy of progress. We need more who will embrace and even celebrate challenge.
It is challenge that makes us stronger, it is challenge that makes us wiser, and it is challenge that makes us thrive!
Those who long for ease are in danger of settling for mediocrity, and of missing out on the surpassing excellencies of their potential self.
Challenges are not something to mourn, they are something to celebrate. Like an adventurer facing a new and unconquered summit, we may face each turn of life. Not that we will always feel exhilaration at the outset, but we may anticipate it, and hold it up before ourselves. For even when life doesn’t hand me it’s ecstasies, I can create my own.
A lyric from one of my favorite, most inspirational, and challenging old spirituals says:
“Please don’t move the mountain
Just give me strength to climb”
Just give me strength to climb”
It takes courage to live like this, but we must come to know that it is well worth it.
Childhood is overrated. For some it may have been easier, but there is so much more to be realized in maturity! We are free as we never have been. Free as we never were. Free to choose. Free to become whatever we strive for.
To reminisce is heavenly. Yet the butterfly need not long again for its cocoon.
Let’s celebrate growth, and even the harrowing process through which it is achieved. Because every struggle is a promise of greater strength, deeper wisdom, and more vibrant beauty to come. Embrace it.
I’m sure you’ve seen something like it, (maybe on the BBC) when the growing seed, time-lapsed, bursts into full bloom—that’s you, and me, and every willing human spirit.
Struggling, living, growing, thriving!
Referenced: Oxford Dictionary, Kobalt Music