Growing Up Doesn’t Totally Suck

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.

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Eight Bridges Away

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there” 

I’m the type of person who is prone to worry, to wonder how I’ll deal with an issue I’m not even dealing with yet. It might come up in the future, IF x, y, and z happen, I might have to cross that bridge. But lately I’ve decided I’m not going to try to cross bridges that are eight bridges away from where I am.

Taking things one step at a time isn’t easy. But living in the present and focusing only on what is in front of you can cut down on a lot of unnecessary stress.

When I used to tell one of my friends about all the things I would worry and stress about she would categorize them into things I could actively do something about and “future Kaitlyn’s problems”. There are things we simply cannot deal with yet. Answering questions about where you are going to be in a few months might be an easy question or very difficult.

Sometimes you just have to trust that in the future you’ll be able to deal with the issues you face as they come up. If you deal with the little things now, the things that seem huge now might actually be little to you when you’re finally there.

Time is a funny thing. It can be a stressful concept, we feel that we either don’t have enough of it or we’re overwhelmed when we have so much we don’t know what to do with it because there is pressure that we always need to be productive. We need a plan of what to do with our time so we don’t waste it. It can feel like time is running out for us- but we have to remember that isn’t true.

 

I don’t know about you, but I was stressed out about 22

I am currently 22, and I’ve been thinking about time a lot. I am in a period of my life where I have a lot of time – and I have a lot of control over the way I use my time – forever. If I want to travel or go back to school it’s in my hands to make that happen.

Sometime last year I started crying because I was stressed about turning 23. For perspective – I was 21 , so it wasn’t even my next birthday. It was my next, next birthday. But 23 sounded so much more grown up, so daunting, and I didn’t know where I would be. It’s funny to think about now, because I caught myself being excited about 23 recently. It doesn’t seem so scary being only 6 months away. Maybe because I’ve had time to live and grow and overcome some of the smaller bridges to get me there .

As we move through life, we have a better sense of where we are going and we have more time to figure out how to get there. Often, we even discover that there are many different paths to get to the destination of our choosing. Thinking about being 23 a year or two ago was scary because I had no idea what this current year would hold. I didn’t know what life would look like for me, and now the picture is a little clearer.

Even a few months ago if you told me I would be visiting the Brooklyn Bridge with two new and really close friends I would have been like what? Really? But how will that unfold? Who are these people?

What I have learned is, we don’t need to understand how everything is going to unfold. We don’t need a road map, we don’t need to know every bridge we’re going to have to cross and how we will manage crossing them. We just need to focus on this moment and crossing the bridge in front of us. We need to know our goals and where we hope to be. The general destination we’re working towards, yes. But the exact directions? Not necessary. We will get there. We will keep moving and navigating, but step by step directions aren’t guaranteed.

New friendships and spontaneous travel plans? Working things out and discovering passions and the “ah ha” moments when it clicks and you know where you want to go? The uncomfortable moments of limbo and indecision that challenge you to grow? You don’t want to miss those moments by knowing every step ahead of you. And you don’t want to waste your time worrying and trying to predict every surprise.

 

Listen to your Mentors 

As I said, I am 22, and in the last few months I’ve gotten advice from a few mentors I really look up to and respect. I think it is wise to get advice from friends, but especially wise to have mentors who have life experiences beyond our own. If they are in their 30’s or 50’s, it’s been helpful to hear about where they were at when they were my age. And the ironic thing was that many of them said they didn’t know what they were doing or what their plan was at my age. They joked with me that life changes so much from your twenties to even your thirties, that there will be people and experiences that shape the course of your life, and whatever you plan now will change anyway.

We are young. We have time. We are going to be okay even without a step by step plan. And part of the fun is not knowing how things will unfold.

Turning 23 is still a few months away for me, but is it’s not really about the number. It’s about getting older and feeling like I need a plan. The truth is, we need a destination, a goal, idea or a passion, and we need to start moving. But we only need to focus on the bridge ahead of you.

I picked up the book The Opposite of Loneliness recently, by the late Marina Keegan and this passage has resonated with me and I think of it often when I am trying to stay present and feel hopeful for the future rather than daunted by it:

We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense… that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving… What we have to remember is that we can still do anything.

The most comforting thing is having mentors, strong women who I admire and have lived more life than me, telling me that it’s okay not to have a plan. It takes time, being thoughtful and intentional about the moments you’re in and focusing on what is in front of you rather than playing a game of “what if’s”. You’ll find your path. You will cross that bridge when you get there.

 

 

A Heart Of Glass Turns One

This time last year I got the courage up to share some writing on this platform. If you’ve been reading along, thank you!

This blog was named A Heart Of Glass, after a John Mayer lyric. I explained in my first post ever that I named it after a line in the song War of My Life, that goes, “I’ve got a hammer/  And a heart of glass/ I got to know right now/ Which walls to smash”. I’m the type of person who likes the idea of embracing vulnerability and opening my heart up to people. And this year I tried to do that here, exploring ideas about how to navigate life and balance a healthy heart, mind, sprit and relationships. I found myself asking the question “what does it mean to be healthy?” quite a bit.

I’ve had the chance to embrace failures by redefining success for myself, think about the ways to let people know our authentic selves in relationships and how to fight for meaningful friendships when things get tough. I’ve talked about my own spirituality and invited others to write and share their perspectives on life as well.

 


As I find my footing in this next chapter of my life I find myself asking new questions. Less about the general “what does it mean to be healthy?” and more specifically “what does it look like for me to be healthy and how do I get myself there?”.

There is a very wide range of what health looks like for everyone; there isn’t any one right way to do things. Healthy people don’t eat the same diet or work out the same ways, we don’t express our emotions or creativity the same either, and our best, happiest and healthiest selves is something we decide on our own.

There are a lot of opinions out in the world, I know I’ve handed out a few here or there over the last year, but what I’m working on these days is figuring out what feels right for me. I trust facts about healthy eating and what healthy relationships look like, and I trust my counsellor who gives me strategies to handle my emotional health – but ultimately I need to feel out the healthiest balance in my life.

I believe this is something we really all must to do. We can be given 101 opinions – but the best thing to do is feel things out for yourself and figure out the right fit for you.

The older I get the more I’m aware of myself. I can tell when I’m anxious or projecting stress. I can identify conflicts when they are small, and still easily manageable. I know I shouldn’t eat all junk food if I want to feel okay the next day (and generally live according to that). I think the longer we live and the better we get to know ourselves the better we can feel out what is best for us.

 


A key to finding a healthy balance in our lives is identifying when things feel wrong. If you’re running and your legs are a little sore you’re probably fine – but if there is a sharp pain you need to stop. The same goes for spicy food and heart burn – know your limits, friend. Sometimes on the path to figuring out what’s right you have to figure out what feels wrong.

If there is an area of wellness you’re not familiar with, doing research and getting facts before making assumptions is important, but keep in mind that there are a lot of possibilities of what a healthy you can look like, so it is up to you to find your best fit.

When relationships feel honest and supportive, when you find a type of exercise you really enjoy doing, when you learn to talk about feelings in a productive way, when you know what these things look and feel like of you – then you can find your own unique answer to the questions “what does it look like for me to be healthy and how do I get myself there?”.

As I’ve been working on this blog I’ve been keeping in mind that all the areas I’ve written about are connected. Our physical health impacts our mental health (and vice versa), the health of our relationships is impacted by our emotional health which is impacted by our spiritual health (and vice versa etc, you get the picture). It’s all connected.

If one area is feeling off, it can shake your whole life up quite a bit. Don’t underestimate how taking care of little issues in your life can make a big positive impact in many areas.

Finally, don’t shy away from trusting yourself to know what is right for you. I’ve learned a lot in the past year, but maybe nothing more empowering than learning to trust my own choices and feelings.

 


 

The blog and I are going to take a bit of a hiatus for this next month- but keep your eyes open for new posts coming your way in July!

For Rylan

I have just one sibling. But he is so wonderful that I don’t need any others, he is the best big brother anyone could ask for. If you’re a regular reader you might have seen the post he wrote for this blog last week. He is generous and kind, loyal and sensitive, encouraging and loves people fiercely. He is an incredible person who writes poetry, loves tie dye and can’t be quite for more than ten minutes (but I love him for it) and I’m lucky to call him my brother.

Tomorrow is Ry’s 25th birthday (making today his Birthday Eve – yes this is a real thing that should always be celebrated) and despite not bring there to celebrate him in person I wanted to take time to make sure he knows I’m celebrating him even when we are 21,000 kilometres apart.


Something I love about my brother is that he truly embodies qualities and values that he thinks are important. His actions speak so loud he doesn’t need words for you to know how wonderful he is – he shows you. He listens to the stories of every person in the room, he is respectful, kind, thoughtful, and makes people feel so loved.

Rylan is genuine and earnest. I love that he isn’t afraid to be truly himself, he is passionate and enthusiastic about the things that excite him and he is always willing to share his passions with others. I learn something new about music, pop culture, world religions, or the rhyming construction of rap and poetry every time we talk. His presence creates a unique space that allows people to be their most authentic selves because he is willing to be his.

He also teaches me so much about what it means to be creative, loving, generous, thoughtful, to learn new things each time you get the chance, and to be myself. He is funny, he tells great jokes, he knows when you need him to listen, he is patient and understanding, he will have dance parties with me on the beach, he is creative and uniquely himself, he always has a word of encouragement or a song recommendation. He will put up with my craziest requests. He quite simply the sweetest person I know.

He is so exceedingly gracious that I once gave him a homemade birthday card and he said he loved it and our mom later told me I’d written the wrong age on the card – but he didn’t say anything because he didn’t want to make me feel bad. And you might think that is a cute anecdote from when we were little kids but it is more recent than I would like to admit. Even on the day that is meant to be about you – he is thinking about other people. He has been teaching me about selflessness and embodying kindness our whole lives.

It’s important to have people to look up to, who you admire as role models in your life and who you can turn to for advice. Finding people in your community who can inspire you pushes you to grow and be a better person. There are so many sayings about the value or surrounding yourself with people you want to become and I believe it really is crucial – which is why I’m so lucky to have grown up beside someone like my brother. I trust Ry to be a confidant, someone to give me thoughtful advice and he’s one of the first people I call when I need a shoulder to cry on. He is encouraging, honest and non-judgmental; but apart from being a great listener he has great advice because he is wise and embodies so much of what I hope to be. I highly recommend you find someone like Ry and hold on to them tight.

Ry, you inspire me so much. I am so thankful you’re my bother. I love you so much I don’t know if these words could possibly express it so I decided to rip Elton John off a little;

I know it’s not much, but it’s the best I can do

My gift is my blog, and this one’s for you

And you can tell everybody this is your blog
It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world