As my 21st birthday looms in the distance and the ability to blame my shenanigans on being a teenager moves further away, I’m left to wonder; what does it mean to be an adult? I know, I know, the idea of pre-teen angst is all so original, who am I? What does it all mean? And all that cliche nonsense. But that’s not what this is. There are so many defining moments that one can look back over 365 days and say “I’ve grown up since then” it’s in this that we gain the ability to see ourselves reflected in day to day life. There’s a moment when you no longer look at other people but you look at yourself. A year is a long time and when I think about how my life has changed in that time I no longer identify with that person or the people who were themselves at the time.
I believe that being an adult is about learning to be honest with yourself. There’s a moment, there’s always a moment when you look at someone and think “you’re doing this to figure yourself out”. Some people turn to drink, others turn to drugs, some people even turn to copious sex acts in order to work out who they are. There are some of us that fill our social circles with meaningless connections or form connections that are totally fictional. Some of us never grow up. We look at these people and see everything we used to be, we judge or we laugh or simply try to navigate them as best we can. But then there’s a point that everything changes, one day you wake up and you realise that none of it matters.
The turning point comes when you wake up and start doing things for yourself, you take responsibility for what you say and what you do. You become honest with everyone around you including yourself. You realise that there was maybe a connection with someone and it’s no longer there, that the tether that once held you together is now maybe connected to someone else and not only may it be connected to someone else it might actually be healthier and happier for all concerned parties. You learn to let go of things and people, allowing yourself some peace of mind. Once you turn that corner you’re also faced with the realisation that sometimes it’s not worth the argument, some things are for the best and sometimes things just happen. You turn that corner and there’s an entire avenue of possibilities that’s awarded to you with growing up.
The reality is: there’s no pressure, life is as simple as you make it and no one has any idea what they’re doing. In allowing yourself to fall apart you can truly have yourself together, in admitting you’re wrong you’ll always be right and in knowing that winning isn’t everything, you’ll never lose. You don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life at twenty one and that’s perfectly normal, some people don’t know what they want to do when they’re forty and some figure it out when they’re eight and watching a documentary with their parents. Being alone feels better than being with someone who isn’t right for you, taking yourself out and not having to rely on others to make you feel good feels better than any amount of approval. There’s a difference between being confident and conceited, there’s a difference between being honest and being nasty and ultimately you learn that there’s a difference between being sure of yourself and who you are than being resistant.
Maturity isn’t a measure of how long you’ve been on the planet it’s a measure of your self against everything you think you should be. The thing is, either way you’re right.