The Delusion of Adulthood
In the rare moments of silence I get each day, my mind wanders to the concept of adulthood. My 30th birthday is right around the corner and with that to overwhelm me, I find myself focusing a lot on the person I always thought I would be by the time I turned 30. Despite all of my planning, my intentions and the mistakes I’ve made along the way, I find myself in unfamiliar territory and a million miles from where I thought I would be at this point in my life.
Let’s begin with where I thought I would be at this point.
When I was 20, and fresh out of nursing school, I figured by the time I was 30, I would be well established as a nurse. I would have built up seniority somewhere and *I* would be the experienced nurse that new grads would ask for advice. I would probably have the title of “charge nurse” and would be so seasoned at my job that many skills I struggled with as a new nurse would be so easy I could do them in my sleep. In my personal life, I figured that I would be married, with a couple of kids, and know how to perfectly balance work and home life. I would live in a wonderful house and everything would be perfect. Our checkbook would balance itself, always with more money coming in than we sent out, and it would never be in the red. Life would be perfect, I would have it all together, and I would be secure with myself as a person.
I had no idea what I was thinking.
The only thing I have figured out in the last 9 ½ years since I so foolishly thought all of those things, is that adults do not have it all figured out. Life is treated on a day by day basis and being an adult does not mean that we have it all figured out. In fact, some of us are more confused now than we were when we were teens, or in our early 20’s. Why? Because we’re finally smart enough to know that we don’t know as much as we once thought we did.
So now that I’m about to enter a new decade of my life, my professional life has changed drastically. I left the world of nursing in 2007, and honestly, I don’t know if I will ever go back. I loved taking care of my patients, but nothing else about the job suited me as a person. The hours were horrendous (I worked night shift), the hospital politics were ridiculous and nurses, well, some of them are just downright mean. I was told I needed to develop a thick skin to be a nurse. As a 20-year-old, I didn’t have it. If I went back now, I might be able to handle myself though. Being a mother sure has toughened me up!
Thankfully, I did achieve the most important thing to me, and that was getting married and having children. As I turn 30 later this year, I will be working on my 6th year of marriage, and will celebrate my birthday with two very loving children and a very supportive husband. Being a stay-at-home mom is much more difficult than I imagined that it would be, but it has taught me that nothing in life is as we think it should be, but the hardest things we do are the ones that offer the most reward.
Being an adult doesn’t mean we have all the answers, and it doesn’t mean that we know who we are or what we want from life. The only thing that adulthood gives us is the freedom to explore, try new things and pursue dreams that we didn’t know we had as kids. Although adulthood does come with tremendous responsibilities, we can’t let work, kids and other responsibilities hold us back from discovering passions within ourselves that the seriousness of life tries to suppress.
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