As of July 24, 2018, I am officially 50 years old. It is a milestone. A pretty big milestone. I think I entered into it preferring not to think about it. I don’t want to be old, but here I am. So, it got me thinking, now what? I mean, my life isn’t changing at all. I still have a 9-year-old (I’m old to be a 9-year old’s mom). I will still have a job and a half in the Fall (I’m old to be working two plus jobs). I will still be traveling for work regularly (I’m old enough that I should be traveling for fun, not work). I will still be trying to figure out a somewhat messy financial situation (I’m too old to not have this figured out). So, basically, I feel like I’ve been pretty poor at adulting to this point in my life. I mean, I’ve dealt with some pretty hefty adult situations in the last decade – a seriously ill child, two seriously ill parents, losing both parents. So, it isn’t that I haven’t had to be an adult. But, without an emergency situation, I’m pretty bad at adulting.
So, my goal for this first year of my fifth decade (that sounds so much better) is to get better at all aspects of adulting, even when there is not an urgent situation that drives the adulting. This is something that most people seem to be able to grasp in their 20s. Even late bloomers get it in their 30s. But, not me. I’m late to every party. I was late finishing college. I was late in finding a career. I was late having a child. I was late buying a house. Late. Always late. But, as the saying goes, better late than never.
So, what exactly does this mean to me? After all, “adulting” is a term used mostly by millennials (we have Adulting Workshops at both my colleges) and I am decades away from being a millennial. But, according to Oxford Dictionaries, it means, “The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.” And, as I said above, this is my major weakness. In times of emergency or urgent need, I can perform as an adult and take care of business. But, I am not very good at accomplishing all the mundane but necessary tasks that come along with being a responsible adult. I procrastinate. I ignore. I forget. I simply let things go. This is what I need to overcome. I need to practice behaving like a responsible adult. I need to accomplish mundane but necessary tasks on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. If I could actually do that, my life would take a turn for the better. The way better.
So, this is my public notice. My request for accountability. My declaration of commitment. This is not my first and probably won’t be my last. But, I think I’ve finally figured out why other “changes” I’ve tried to make in the past didn’t work. It is because, like a child who lacks focus and attention on an arts and craft project, I have simply started a project without any understanding that at some point, that project would become mundane. There would be no urgent need to complete the project. Other things would arise that would take my attention away from that original project and would seem more fun, more interesting, more necessary. And, as a result, I would drop that original project and move to something else. And that would happen over and over and over again. My need is not for “change” but for staying the course.
I realize that the word adulting is not without its critics. The word has been accused of being “gross and sexist” as well as overused and fake and an indict of our entire societal framework. But, I’m going to use it anyways, because I am not a millennial. I am not degrading myself by using it. I am not claiming to “adult” because I cook a single dinner and I am not a product of the society that produced 20-somethings. I am seriously struggling with consistent, responsible, productive behavior and if I think that focusing on “adulting” for a year will help with that, I’m going to do it. I’m going to do it at 50! So, apologies to the haters of the word “adulting.” But, no apologies for my need to recognize my weaknesses and find a way to overcome them. And, for today anyway, this is a way!
So, watch this blog to follow along with my adulting attempts in the first year of my fifth decade.