Recently I was told that I had a lot of growing up to do, and let me tell you, I was pissed. Like, what the hell? I thought to myself, Am I really that immature that someone has to tell me to grow up?
I have had a very eventful couple of weeks, very eventful, which resulted in growing up. Being an adult no longer became an option but a forceful necessity. Sometime between dealing with the end of my first adult relationship and coming to terms with losing a member of my family, I learned a thing or two about adulthood and the difference between getting older and being an “adult.” I took a bad situation — like spending a week with my family when emotions were so high that I was sure we would end up on the news — and used it as a learning experience.
So, as far as my opinions go and how I have set out on my path into what I like to call “grown-up Lara,” here are a couple of things I have exercised in my practice of becoming an adult. (But you know, without being annoying about it.)
First off, “age is nothing but a number” could not be truer. Letting age define one’s maturity is ridiculous and unfair. Everyone learns from their mistakes and life experiences at different times in their life, and everyone takes away from these experiences what they please, even if they take nothing away at all… which happens… a lot. I know 18-year-olds who know how to handle a bad situation better then 23-year-olds, all while dealing with the end stages of puberty. No one should let someone else’s age determine how he or she treats another person.
- Being open-minded to various opinions is important. Assuming you are always right shuts the door to learning other people’s opinions and perspectives. This may seem unimportant, but it could
broaden your ability to communicate with different kinds of people. I have learned that forcing my opinions on others, and vise-versa, is a waste of time, so I listen to all the various viewpoints people have — unless it’s about Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift is awesome.
- Every bad situation and moment does not need to be celebrated with self-pity. Life moves on, and it’s important to learn to move with it, even when you want to stay in bed and eat a tub of ice cream and/or boxed wine.
- That being said, it’s also important to not be ashamed of feeling a little self-pity when needed. Sometimes holding everything inside and not recognizing that sometimes life lets you down can do more harm than good. So, embrace the crappiness that is surrounding you at the moment, go to the nearest convenient store, buy yourself that ice cream and cheap wine (if you are of age), and have yourself a nice cry. You are no less of a person if you do so.
- Why surround myself with people who make me feel bad about myself and remind me that I had the option of staying home? I’ve heard the expression, “You can never have too many friends.” You absolutely can have too many friends. Personally, I like being around people who inspire me rather then compete with me, support me instead of breaking me down, and hold my hand when I need them rather than making me feel needy.
- Treating others the way you want to be treated does not necessarily mean that you will be treated the same way. When things get rough in your personal life, you really understand the difference between real friends and the friends who are around until things get rough. If you need an example of how to compare the two, the real friends are the ones who take you out for a coffee or a drink — again, if you are of age — and the unreliable ones are the ones who send a quick text or sometimes nothing at all after the fact.
- Apologizing is not a weakness but rather a form of cooperation. I know people who refuse to apologize because they either “did nothing wrong” or “have no reason to.” It is important to sacrifice your ego for the greater good and know when to just let go and admit that you are wrong. (I know, easier said than done, but just do it.)
I’m sure a lot more goes into being an adult — probably something like balancing a checkbook — but the thing is that everyone, even a 50-year-old, has growing up to do. To me, acting like an adult does not make someone an adult. However, acting like a mature, kind, non-judgmental, and overall normal human being makes someone a so-called “adult.”
In conclusion, I like my age, and I like my maturity level. Why rush into something that’s a one-way street?