If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time then you’ve probably come across a rambling or two I’ve had wherein I’ve said something along these lines: “adulting is hard” or “life after college is hard” or “rocks are hard” (the last one, maybe not, but that doesn’t mean it is any less true). And the reason it’s popped up so many times is because…well, it’s accurate. Every kid imagines the day they leave college to be similar to that mythical moment when a beached sea-oyster opens its maw to reveal a globe-sized pearl ripe for plucking, as if classes and teachers and homework and tests are the real obstacles in the way of life, and the moments and days past them are gold and smooth sailing, paved nicely with hopes and smiles.
Kind of wrong.
That isn’t to say life as an adult is all hardship and broken dreams, but it is probably in a single word: mysterious. Nothing goes according to the plan you set out for yourself years ago. Even if your career is steak sauce and you’re moving up your desired ladder, your relationship status may be a dump pile, or may not even exist at all. Maybe your health is in a bad place, maybe you had kids before you planned to, maybe you’ve had trouble with your housing arrangement, or your car, or something else entirely and nothing is going the way that it should–that there is adulthood; welcome to the void.
I think the thing I’ve learned in the couple of years I’ve been a budding adult is that I’m not in control and never actually have been, that life is a mysterious entity and I am along for the ride. In a number of ways, that’s a good thing. We aren’t fit architects for the layout of our future. The choices we make, the friendships we choose, the relationships we wind up in and the job paths we go down aren’t always what they seem, and if it weren’t for life forcing paths upon us, we’d probably be dissatisfied with the ones we chose when it all is said and done. The mystery makes life fun and exciting, if not, for a while, kind of terrifying.
When my fiancée and I began talking about marriage, a lot of my hang ups rested in the mystery. So much of me wanted a full-time job before I got married, to have lived in an apartment of my own for this amount of time, to have this much in savings while bringing this much in, and marriage couldn’t be considered until then out of fear of not being able to live. It was something I truly believed, in large part due to the absence of the dad in my own life. He was a bad father. He wasn’t here and every part of me has always wanted to be different than he was. I want to be present, I want to be supportive, I want to provide for my family and, in my mind, having A, B, and C prior to marriage equaled that while anything less did not.
I was wrong.
I’m not married yet so I’m not saying that out of experience, but sometimes, things can’t be perfect. Sometimes the perfect job doesn’t work out, sometimes you live with your mom longer than you intended. Sometimes you aren’t flush with cash the way you imagined you would be at 24 and some choices just aren’t available even if your plan said they should have been. As I’m moving ever closer toward marriage (I think we’re something like 150 days away from the date) I’m seeing that there are some things that are more important to focus on. A great job will come, more money will come, but in the meantime, we’re getting married. We’re following love and what is God’s trajectory for our lives toward what is next. Everything else can wait and then come in some strange form we didn’t anticipate but for now, we just adult. That’s all we can do, that’s all anyone can do, and that’s okay because that’s all we’re expected to do: to be flexible and patient and passionate about something until it all just finally clicks.
Adulthood’s not all bad. It’s just a little confusing sometimes and that’s what makes it fun.