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:

A Year of Perspective Shifts

Almost everyone said that 2017 was terrible, what with all the shootings by those in pain, sexual transgressions by big shots in Hollywood, and hare-brained decisions by those in power.

To me, 2017 wasn’t terrible at all, unless you mean “terrible” in the old-fashioned, biblical sense of “formidable or something to be awed.” I found 2017 to be a year of perspective shifts. I’ve been away from this blog more often than I would have liked this year, and I’ve written barely any fiction at all—maybe a couple paragraphs here and there that I don’t think even added up to 5,000 words. The most writing I did was in my paper journal.

The strange part about all that is I don’t really feel much of a need to write fiction. I miss my characters, but I don’t really relate to them anymore because of this perspective shift. For the first time in my life, I feel like a true “adult,” and other adults are acknowledging me as one of them. I can relate to adults now, and I sympathize more with the adult characters in movies and books than I do with the teenagers. Yet I still don’t feel like I have the life experience needed to write great fiction or to portray adulthood accurately. I’ve been feeling as though writing fiction is somewhat pointless because all the great stories have already been told, and they have been told in much better ways than I could tell them.

I hope this is just a big stumbling block that materialized because of the perspective shift and that it will go away soon, but for now, I’m grateful to still be writing in some capacity, even if it’s not fiction.