by Sarah Hebel
Recently, the house I live in was experiencing some plumbing issues. Something I thought I could fix with with a little Drain-O and a sink plunger turned into a debacle, resulting in two trips from a plumber, a leaky pipe, a gaping hole in our kitchen ceiling, and drywall dust exploding everywhere. As I worked over the course of the next week to try and handle this problem, I found myself making jokes about #adulting.
As a young twenty-something, trying to ease into the real world, dealing with "real adult" problems, I found that jokingly categorizing my experiences under "adulting" made light of the fact that I am actually pretty intimidated by some of the tasks and responsibilities that really just fall into the category of "life skills." While my first reaction is to simply cope with the impending adulting, I think the ideal is to actually strive to embrace becoming the mature human being that God created me to be, with all the responsibilities that come along with it.
St. Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians, "When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things." Instead of conforming to the culture, which seems to be holding our generation captive in a prolonged childhood, I challenge us to step up to the plate and become real adults with confidence and positive influence in the world. Here are some tips to help us change our perspective and attitudes on adulting:
1. Zoom Out.
One of the reasons that we get caught up in (and off guard by) adulting is because we see our circumstances only in the context of our own moods, feelings, and subjective experiences. If we zoomed out of our own little world, we could recognize that whatever problem we are facing, we are probably not the first person in the world to experience it. In the big picture -- how serious is the problem you are facing? Is it really the end of the world?
2. Identify Your Strengths (and Those of Others).
Recognizing the strengths that you have will help you feel confident in the face of a problem that stretches you a little bit. You might be amazed that God often puts you in certain situations knowing that He has already given you the gifts to deal with them. With that said, adulting doesn't mean you need to know how to do everything on your own. Just like you have identifiable strengths and abilities, so do the people around you. When a problem hits you unexpectedly, don't think, "How am I ever going to handle this?" but rather, "How can I best handle this with the resources around me?" Don't know how to pay your parking ticket? Maybe one of your friends does. At the very least, recognize your capacity to utilize this beautiful thing called Google.
3. Stop Complaining.
When is the last time you complained about something you had to do that you didn't want to do? For me, it was probably about five minutes ago when I saw our dishwasher needed to be emptied. Did complaining make the task go away? No. Did it make me feel more empowered to conquer the task? No. If anything, it was just a catalyst for my negative attitude. Complaining not only makes things more difficult for us, it actually communicates a sense of immaturity and inability to handle things (both to us and the people who hear us complain.)
4. Embrace the Challenge.
If there is a challenge set before you, there is an opportunity for growth and an opportunity to learn. Think of lifting weights: reps + weights = muscle growth. We will be weak and flimsy in our capabilities if we never face challenges. The stronger we get, the more we can handle, and the less intimidating tasks will seem in the future for us. It's good for our relationships, our self-esteem, our resumes, and our souls. It is just good.
5. Don't Do it for the Likes.
Too often, we let others be the judge of our success. We let our public lives take priority over our personal lives. We value likes on Instagram over character and virtue. Take ownership over your life and your successes and failures won't seem so magnified in light of everyone else's opinion. If you know that you have grown through an experience, then it was worth it. Making your own choices and decisions, AKA adulting, brings you greater confidence and freedom to just be you.
As the idiom goes, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. So whether you're ready to tackle adulting right now, or you still need some warming up to the idea, my encouragement is to just take one step, and ask for God's help to bring you into the fullness of who He created you to be. That's one prayer that He is always eager to answer!