Aftermath of Lent

This year for Lent, I gave up music as I usually do. I also gave up excessive Internet use, which was fairly easy because I’ve been so disgusted with almost everything online these days. I also picked an unusual goal: giving up complaining, because I realized that I complain almost all the time about almost everything,* even if it’s not really a serious gripe.

I failed miserably.

As a matter of fact, I think I complained even more during Lent than I usually do outside of Lent. Or maybe I just grew more aware of how much I complained when I was actively trying to reduce the amount of complaining.

Even though it’s the Easter season now and I can technically start complaining again, I’m still trying to quit. What I learned about the whole matter is that I have to actively try to think positive. Find the humor in something that went wrong. Instead of complaining, find something to be grateful for. It’s OK if something’s not perfect or doesn’t go my way. Even my personal journal tends to be a bunch of bitchery and self-pitying melodrama, so I have been trying to write about positive things only, or put a positive spin on what I perceive to be negative things. At first, it felt unnatural, like I wasn’t being realistic or honest with myself, or like I was trying to be a happy, bubbly, super-enthusiastic person who’s all “Happy Monday!” and uses fifty million exclamation points at the end of every sentence.

Later on, the happiness started to sink in and my journal felt less fake. I remembered the old mantra that goes something like “You may not be able to control the situation, but you can control your reaction to it.” So I have tried to react more positively to things, or at least not immediately launch into Bitch Mode™. The most helpful thing has been to actively put in place what I should have learned in elementary school: If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. (Or at least wait until you’re calm to say something. Don’t just say the first impulsive thing that comes into your head.)

Anyway, here’s to an Easter season full of happiness!!!! (Ugh, I still hate multiple exclamation points.) 🙂

*Maybe it’s an inherited thing. Or a New York thing. I’m not really sure. Doesn’t matter where it came from; all that matters is that it needs to be stopped.

Adulting

A somewhat new buzzword you’re probably hearing about all the time is adulting, which, according to Urban Dictionary (always the most reliable resource, I say with much sarcasm), means to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (paying off that credit card debt, settling beef without blasting social media, etc). Exclusively used by those who adult less than 50% of the time.

In effect, adult is now a verb, and it’s apparently used by those who don’t adult all that well. Back when I turned 18, I was shocked upon realizing that I was legally an adult, and it took over 10 years for me to truly feel as though I was an adult, which made sense because when I was 18, I had completed none of the typical markers of adulthood. Those have historically been (I don’t know if they are in order or if they ought to be in order): (1) finishing school (I assume that means college in today’s society), (2) leaving one’s parents’ home, (3) getting married, (4) having children, and (5) becoming financially independent.

By those markers, I’m not sure that very many people aged 18 to 30 are fully fledged adults at all. Based on those markers, I’m still not a “full” adult, despite being legally an adult for more than 10 years. And by that logic, people who never have children for whatever reason never become true adults, which is silly.

I suppose the people who popularized the word adulting have not completed all five of the traditional markers of adulthood, and perhaps they feel bad about that. So menial tasks like taking out the trash when it’s overflowing and getting an oil change for the car become a Super Big Deal and an Important Aspect of Adulthood (i.e., *Gasp* I Feel Like My Mom! What a Horror!).

Are people in my generation really that lazy and really have such low self-esteem that small tasks like that become huge milestones? Or perhaps because those five milestones are extremely difficult to accomplish in today’s economy? I tend to agree with the latter. Many millennials came of age during the Great Recession and are still finding it difficult to rebound from that. Finishing school is tough when you can’t pay for it because college is outrageously expensive. Becoming financially independent is tough when you have student loans and you don’t have a decent job because you haven’t finished school because college is outrageously expensive. Leaving your parents’ house is tough because you don’t have the money to afford an apartment or a house of your own, again because you don’t have a decent job. Finding a significant other and getting married are tough because it’s hard as hell to find someone decent these days, especially when much of modern dating consists of crapshoots like Tinder. Having kids is tough because, well, if you have kids (and if you don’t), you know why.

So those five are pretty huge milestones, and adulting seems to be a term that we (i.e., millennials) use to prove to others that we are taking steps (however small) toward those milestones and not just sitting around being lazy like everyone claims that we are. Maybe it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but even if we’re not “true” adults, we have a sense of humor at least.

With Utmost Resolve

I didn’t make any concrete resolutions for 2018. When people ask what my resolution is, I tell them that it’s to be a good wife. I don’t know how you’d turn that into a SMART goal (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound), and by most accounts, resolutions and goals should be SMART. But I figure that if that is my only goal, then it should be OK. It is something I keep at the forefront of my mind all the time, and I don’t need any reminders to carry it out. I realized that if I make too many specific goals, I forget them or put too much effort into trying to remember exactly what they are.

The past couple years, I’ve been feeling guilty that I haven’t completed my resolutions to the extent that I would like to have done, so this year I want to let go of that guilt about arbitrary goals that don’t really matter all that much. I figure that if I focus my attention on the one goal that does matter, I’ll do better. After all, nobody’s perfect. Not even the company that made my planner: