They don't teach college courses on this, but they ought to.
Matter of fact, it should be a prerequisite for any high school grad -taking a class on how to be a grown up- don't you think?
Sure, we're taught how to balance a check book and write a resume, basic job application skills, etc. (okay, maybe we're not) but one thing we are never educated on is how to emotionally be an adult. What does that even mean?
"Oh, GROW UP."
What does that mean to you?
Act mature. Stop yer whinin'. Cancel the pity party, no one's coming. Get off your butt and DO something.
But what it mainly means -what I'm FINALLY figuring out is that acting like a grown up all boils down to one thing:
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF.
It's embarrassingly simple, but can you believe that this little revelation whacked me upside the head recently with all its sense-making? It did! 34 years old, a business owner, married nearly 10 years and with a third child on the way. (Shaking my head.)
Recently I've been going through my past, trying to make sense of why I have tendencies towards certain behaviors, attempting to get at the root of issues so I don't continue unhealthy patterns or copy unhealthy modeled behavior. It's easy to fall into what you know -and when what you know is ruining your personal life, it's time to get out the sledgehammer and bring that house down.
What I've found is:
It's valuable to understand your past, but most importantly take control of your present and future.
And the way you do this is to start each day with this one phrase:
I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR TODAY.
What you are in control of -your thoughts, actions, motivations- are owned. By YOU. No one else. Thank goodness that most of us are not in hostage situations where we are not in control of our own choices, right? But we live that way -as if we're hostages to our circumstances, our emotions, our behavior.
You are in control of everything from your to-do list, to what you eat, how you spend every moment in between --we're always making choices and the power comes in being conscious of that. Everything is a choice, and we make those choices.
And that's what being a grown up is -being responsible for ourselves. When we blame others, play the victim, never own our mistakes or our choices -yes, we remove ourselves from culpability, but we also treat ourselves as POWERLESS, and that's one hell of a lie, people.
It has been so empowering waking up each morning and saying, "I take responsibility for today." I'm not taking responsibility for the world going right, or solving the problem of hunger or war, but I am saying that, today, in every moment, I have the power to choose. And I get to own my choices -good or bad. There's no one else to blame for my actions or words. I have the power to choose. Knowing this, thinking this throughout the day, has been more life changing than anything else I've experienced.
I used to be afraid of being powerless to certain impulses. Drinking, eating, anger, making poor decisions, etc. But putting myself in the drivers seat and knowing I get to make my own choices, no longer hanging on to the "oh shit" handle in the back of the car and hoping my decisions wouldn't wreck my life or others --it's been the most empowering thing ever. "I'm driving the car, asshole. And this is where we're going."
Now? I really like being a grown up.