Last February, I went to a conference in the United States. For dinner, the conference host, the owner of the software which was the focus of the conference, and I, went to a Cajun restaurant and talked about our personal lives.
Eventually, our conversation shifted to our family members. One of them came from a family of two sons, and he talked about how his brother is unmotivated and refused to take responsibility for his actions. In contrast to himself, his life is pretty okay, with a software that pays enough for his living needs, having an extensive career in the military and technology fields, and content with his home that he shares with his cat and dog.
“Responsibility is empowering” he said. “The more you take responsibility for your actions, the more you have control and agency towards what happens to you in life”.
This statement resonated with me very much!
Perhaps this is why in recent months and years, there is pleasure and satisfaction about getting chores done that I started to embrace.
Maybe that is why when people complain with genuine dread and displeasure about doing chores and errands, I feel confused.
As a millennial, I still make jokes about how “adulting” is difficult. Might as well own it, since it is my generation who turned the word adult into a verb. Just a quick search on social media and the memes, jokes, posts and videos on the topic are everywhere.
It is likely that part of my perspective came from unfortunate circumstances in my youth that practically ‘forced’ me to think and act like an adult too soon. It is not easy for someone between the age of 8 – 16, to give up playing with friends and being carefree, and to instead worry about making a living, thinking about legal paperwork, and being concerned about the well being of a younger sibling who depends on you.
For a long time, I had to think and act like an adult without looking the part, and that was frustrating and limiting. Now that I’m actually am one, with both the mindset, the resources and also the right age to be one, it’s a relief. It’s feels right.
It wouldn’t be too surprising if some people who had to act mature in their childhood years, end up being “childlike” in their adult years. Missing out on opportunities to receive affection, support and stability can make someone want to take these from anyone. Having to always give for so long had become too tiresome, so this time, its their turn to just take. I was afraid that this will happen to me, but I remember reading somewhere this profound statement: “It’s okay to parent yourself and do things that you would have wanted a loving parent do to you”.
The recent explosion in awareness and promotion about self care also shifted my perspective about adult responsibilities. Self-care is more than just spa and hair appointments or getting the latest gadgets. The daily grind of household chores that need to be done in a timely manner, which is a huge part of adult life, results to a lot of positive things that the occasional luxury brings as well.
Peace of mind can come from a clean bathroom, a completely paid off credit card, and a freshly cut lawn. Empowerment can come from learning how to cook one’s childhood favourite meal just the way you remember it and not overeat to keep up with one’s health goals. Optimism can come from a prepared personal budget, understanding one’s psychological triggers, and actually finishing hobbies.
Since we are only getting older and time travel is still hard, from now and into the future I will be an adult forever, just different types I suppose. I look forward to being this for the rest of my life, and I hope that everyone ends up feeling the same.