SETTLING INTO ADULT LIFE AND LEARNING TO MOVE ON
This isn’t going to be the most informative or exciting post, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about settling into “adult” life, and I just wanted to share some of my experiences.
Today, I had to write an email that was extremely hard for me. I’ve been thinking about sending it for about a month now. Last night I even had a dream about the email in question. Finally, I reminded myself that thinking about something will never make it happen, and that I just had to send it.
The email that was so hard for me to send was about taking a step back from one of my commitments.
I have been writing for an online magazine since my sophomore year of college, and I’ve truly enjoyed it. But, it has gotten to the point where I there are just not enough hours in the day to keep up with everything I committed to, and I found this work falling to the bottom of my list every time.
Why was it so hard for me to send it then? Despite the fact that writing for this magazine had become the least important of my priorities, and that it was causing me a lot more stress than it was worth, it took me a whole month to speak up. Plus, I think I’ve known that I couldn’t keep up with the commitment for some time now.
I think there’s a few reasons I’ve been having such a hard time. I am someone who prides themselves in their ability to do it all. I always have. It really upsets me to think that I am not working as hard as I could, or not following through with commitments, or even worse, letting someone down. On top of that, I really do want to everything I am doing.
What finally made me make the decision to send that email (besides at least 6 months of stress) was the realization that I am not being honest with myself or the editors of the magazine by stretching myself paper thin to fit more writing time into my schedule, and submitting work without putting in the effort that I ideally would have. That’s not who I am.
There haven’t been many times in my life where I had to consciously let go of something. Moving on from the commitments, passions, and people in my past has almost always happened organically, or in a way that was out of my control. Whether that’s because people moved on from me, or I moved away for college, or in the case of my athletic career, it ended with college. The idea that I was closing a door on an opportunity that I really did enjoy was very hard for me.
I think the scariest part of becoming an adult is that it seems like you don’t have the endless possibilities you did as a child, or in college anymore. In some ways, every decision seems to limit future options.
I am still in a place where I do have almost limitless options. Yet, the reality of getting older and settling in to life, eventually having a family, is scary! But, I also think it’s pretty amazing.
Making decisions that may limit you to a geographic location or a more specific field of work can actually open your eyes to opportunities around you. Opportunities that are often more tailored to what you are really looking for since you already eliminated options you did not like, and give you a chance to make deeper connections with your community.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from writing, music, or even drawing, often the best work comes from limiting yourself. It’s much easier to create something incredible with a jumping off point, or a constraint, than it is to look at all the endless possibilities and conceive of any good place to start nevermind a place to go.
At least for right now, I think I like looking at the future like that. As a place for endless opportunity within constraints that can only help guide the way to something beautiful.