The growing pains of adulthood are more than just paying mortgages and mowing the grass. Puberty is rough, but it pales in comparison to the struggles of what’s to come. In light of Halloween, here are a few harrowing realities and realizations that all adults are destined to face throughout their lives.
Aging is Inevitable
Nothing is more daunting than realizing that you’re not getting any younger. Remember when you were in your early twenties and you never once batted an eye about the thought of fine lines and wrinkles? Fast forward to your late twenties, when almost daily, social media reminds you of your ticking biological clock as you’re trying desperately to hold on to every last second of your perceived youth. When you see college students in Target, they suddenly look like high school students. You are constantly fighting the urge to envy those younger than you for their extra years of great skin and vibrancy. To fill the void, you search for the highest-rated night creams and under-eye serums on the market. To make matters worse, it’s no longer socially acceptable to condemn the older man hitting on you at the bar because you’re almost 30 – but it still feels just as creepy as it did ten years ago.
Being an Adult Child
It’s a terrifying moment when you realize that your parents are solely human beings and are only adults, just like you. They’re no longer omniscient in your eyes. While they might have a few tidbits of helpful advice here and there in their areas of expertise, you are now left with no one to look to in times of uncertainty. They can’t give you the answer you’re looking for. No one can. It’s only you and your defective brain left to decipher the world. Even scarier – it won’t be too long until you and your parents’ roles reverse completely. As they get older, weaker, and less sharp, your intelligence and grit will become more imperative than ever. You can no longer go to your room and play. It’s time to face life’s problems head on, sooner rather than later.
Man Plans, and God Laughs
As a child, we were often taught that life should be fair. Everyone should be able to have the same amount of animal crackers at snack time, or no one gets animal crackers. If someone hurts you, your teacher encourages them to apologize to you and make it better. As an adult, however, you work long hours all week, and are looking forward to going out for a nice dinner with your paycheck. When payday rolls around, you get a flat tire. That extra money you were hoping to spend on steak now belongs to Discount Tire. That trip you’ve been planning for a year and a half just got canceled indefinitely due to a worldwide pandemic. There’s no teacher in-sight to pay you back for your flat tire or to open Italy’s borders. You’re stuck to learn how to tolerate injustice and inequity, or you will simply drown in resentment and bitterness.
At one point in time, you probably thought that you’d be married by 25 and find your dream job – or better yet, marry rich and not have to work. You’re 29 with no husband in sight, and you don’t even know if you could ever share your living space with someone else at this point. Sure, you like your job, but what is this “dream job” that everyone keeps talking about? All jobs are stressful. To not get fired means showing up and putting forth 100% effort day after day, and that is hard. It’s up to you to save for retirement, and when you’re old enough to retire, your joints won’t be able to take you up all the mountain trails you don’t have time to hike now. For many, and I actually suspect for most, a dream job is just that – a dream.