We hear so many things about how getting older sucks. About how things are easier when we are young and jokes that it’s a trap that we have to grow up and face responsibility. Yes, ‘adulting’ is hard. All the levels of paying rent and your phone and having to remember to do the dishes and take out the trash.
But it’s not all bad. There are things about growing up that are actually pretty good. For instance, you never have to live through high school again. You’ll never have acne and braces and painfully frizzy hair you haven’t learned to tame yet again.
Can I get an amen?
It can definitely be cathartic to lament over the struggles of adulthood and responsibility. Meal prepping?? Having to go to bed at a reasonable hour to function because you’re not 18 anymore and you have a nine to five job and 4am isn’t an acceptable time to let your head hit the pillow on weeknights?? The painful truth that your metabolism isn’t what it once was?? Don’t get me started on aches and pains.
I put out a survey on my instagram story the other day to hear what people think the worst part of getting older are, and some of the responses included;
- “Student loans. Loss of child-like wonder. Becoming jaded.”
- “Regretting not trying something”
- “Never ending to do list”
- “Bills/ money stress, body changes the come with age, not understanding current slang”
- “Having to ask off of work/ not being able to just drop everything for a spontaneous holiday”
- “Paying for things myself”
- “Constantly comparing yourself to what other people your age are doing as a way to measure success. Our twenties/ early thirties are so different for everyone, and it’s easy to feel like you’re a failure if you’re not at the same place in life as the people around you”
- “Feeling like you’re not doing the right thing and that you’re in the wrong place”
Reckoning with aging, feeling lost or like you don’t measure up, the responsibility of finances, it’s a lot. Wisdom comes with getting older, but the experiences and trials we learn from can be down right brutal. It can be overwhelming at times, for each of us.
How could this not be awful? Because life isn’t just the hard parts.
Even on the hard days when our struggles seem to outweigh the joys of getting older, I assure you they don’t. Getting older means being blessed with more time on this earth to live life. And life is too short not to take time to celebrate the good things, so today I want to take a moment to celebrate some good things about growing up.
Each day we get to become ourselves more and more. Confidence in yourself as a person grows, in your style choices and trusting your gut. I know I’ve been trying to nurture each of these more and more in my twenties and I look forward to growing my self love and self confidence the older that I get.
This confidence in ourselves and our abilities comes from surviving things that show us we are capable people. Think of the most embarrassing, vulnerable, gut wrenching thing you’ve ever done? You did that and survived. That kind of knowledge makes me so confident in my self to show up and know I can handle situations and put myself in the world and even if I stumble I’ll get right back up and be okay.
I got my heart broken a while back – and I remember having this weird thought “hey this sucks but at least now I understand what John Mayer meant when he wrote my favourite sad songs”. It’s a weird consolation prize, but some of the more difficult experiences that accompany getting older allows us to empathize better and that is a huge silver lining to heartache.
We get to understand human experiences to new levels of depth. We get to do that. That is part of the privilege of growing up and getting older.
Along with that survey about the worst parts of getting older are, I asked about what some of the best parts are;
- “Freedom in the moment to moment to pursue our passions, our loved, our light”
- “More opportunities to travel the world and do rad things with your life”
- “Becoming more self-confident”
- “Independence; to a certain extent, i can do what I want when I want”
- “Making money for traveling”
- ‘You can eat straight out of the Betty Crocker icing tub with nobody to tell you off for it”
- “You have experiences to be grateful for. More stories, more gratitude”
- “Enjoying slow mornings, moments of peace”
- “Ordering pizza whenever I want”
- “Being able to eat cheese and wine and chocolate for dinner”
- “Wisdom and peace of mind”
From my perspective, it simply can’t be repeated enough that you don’t ever have to go back to high school again.
The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, or like you wish you could go back to younger carefree days, remember that the trials build confidence in ourselves, the hard days help allow us to empathize, and when all else fails you’re old enough to go to the grocery store and buy yourself a chocolate cake – no questions asked.