That Moment When You Realise Your Parents Were Just ‘Adulting’ Too
At some point in the last couple of years, whilst we were all distracted with bills and work and interior design, the word ‘adult’ suddenly became a verb.
To ‘adult’ is to behave like an adult, specifically to do the things – often mundane – that an adult is expected to do.
The popularity of the word as a catch-all term for doing general ‘grown up’ stuff is, at least among those of us of a certain age, at least partly inspired by the proliferation of popular memes citing phrases such as ‘I don’t want to adult today,’ or ‘I don’t know how to adult.’
Say what you will about using adult as a verb (apparently some people really hate it), using it in memes has enabled a certain generation to become the first to outwardly express a simple, universal truth:
This Grown Up Stuff Is F***Ing Tough
Let’s be honest:
When it first came time to start fending for ourselves, none of us had any real clue what we were doing.
We’ve been making everything up as we go along, making plenty of mistakes en route, and generally finding that being an adult isn’t exactly the kind of wonderful experience we all thought it was when we were kids.
What’s more, some of us started “adulting” when we still very much had the mindset of our teenage selves.
I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I know that, despite being old enough to have barely made the cut in the so-called Millennial generation, I don’t feel any more grown up than I did when I was 15 years-old.
I’m existing in an adult world with -let’s cut the b.s- an immature mind, and quite frankly, most of the time I have no f’n idea what the f***k I’m doing.
But here’s the thing:
Other People Don’t Know How to Adult Either
Know how I know?
Because of those memes.
Hoorah. I’m not alone. Other people find this stuff tough going too. Other people are making this stuff up as they go along.
Know what else?
My Parents’ Generation Were Probably Making it up as They Went Along, Too
Why wouldn’t they?
Just because our generation was the first to stand up and say that this being a grown up stuff is hard work, doesn’t mean we were the first generation to feel this way.
OK, so society may have changed. Work may have changed, but when it comes down to it, we still have to go to work, pay bills, and above all else — ACT WITH MATURITY- just the same way that our parents did.
So what’s to say that they knew what they were doing any better than we do now?
What’s to say that they weren’t equally as terrified and bewildered when they first started adulting?
What’s to say they weren’t just making things up as they went along, too?
Nothing, that’s what.
So, here’s the thing.
I Can Stop Holding Resentments Against My Parents For The Way They Damaged Me as a Child
I may still have all the emotional maturity of a 15 year-old boy, but I have at least found enough maturity to realise that, when I was growing up, my parents were just trying to figure out this adult stuff too.
Some times, they got it wrong, just like I’ve gotten it wrong countless times in the past.
Those things that they got wrong?
I’ve carried them around for years, not only dealing with the emotional damage that they caused, but resenting Mum and Dad because I felt that for some reason they should have known better.
How could they?
Chances are they were just as immature as I feel now. They didn’t sit down, rationally look through all the available options, and decide that the best course of action was to wreck my confidence, to make me feel unloved, worthless, or stupid.
They did the best they could with the limited experience and maturity that they had at the time.
I can forgive them for that, because hey, like I say, I’ve done some pretty dumbass stuff too whilst ‘adulting.’
Does that mean that forgiving them automatically makes all the damage go away?
In my case, no. It’s something I still have to deal with, but it is going to be much easier to deal with it now that the damage is no longer buried under a blanket of resentment.
My lack of confidence, my low self-esteem, my feelings of being unloved and unwanted are now mine — they are no longer things that my parents gave me, but things that I own, and because I own them, I can finally start to do something about them.
Letting go of those resentments also means that I can have a better relationship with my parents today than I’ve had in years. Sure, I may still be the proverbial black sheep of the family (that’s another article for another time), but because I have forgiven my parents, I can start to meet them where they’re at, start to develop the best relationship that it is possible to have with them.
That relationship may not be the one I wanted to have with them when I was younger, but it’s the best relationship that it’s possible to have with two people who, after all, are just making things up as they go along, just like I am.