glimpse of ourselves find ourselves

“I used to think when I got older; the world would make so much more sense. But you know what? The older I get, the more confusing it is to me. The more complicated it is to me. You’d think we’d get better at it, but we don’t.”  – a young adult blogger



As you can imagine … I receive a lot of emails and messages from the younger generation. Perhaps it is because I am so vocal with regard to their virtues … and how I tend to believe many of us old folk have not only forgotten <conveniently> what it was like to grow up. Or it could be that  I tend to believe we put on some wacky rose colored glasses which makes everything look like the way we grew up, and the way we were brought up, was unequivocally the better way <or certainly better than it is today>.


Bottom line for this ‘grown up reminder post’ … in general … growing up sucks.


I will admit that even I need to be reminded as I often overlook it as I deal with my own semi-adult issues and challenges.

But if you take a moment to remember living life through the eyes of one growing up … it sucks, and sucked, as you are doing it as well as when you look back upon it. It sucked for a variety of reasons but today I am going to focus on the transition between being young and being a young adult. This is about the time that true reality slinks into everyday Life.


growing up chart success


Reality is rarely fun to read.

Here is an example (y-axis = degree of success, x-axis = age).

Do you remember what you wanted to become when you were a child <assuming you had any clue beyond fireman, superhero or Barbie/Ken>?

Do you remember what your parents wanted you to become <lawyer, president, professional bowler>?


Compare your dream with their dream <personally I have an equivocal “yikes!” inserted here>.


Look at what you’re doing right now for a living.

The odds are it is pretty far from your childhood dream.  Well … on a good note … it is quite possible <likely> you are pretty happy you never went for your childhood dream. Childhood dreams are good … and healthy … but reality does have a habit of … well … introducing some good healthy reality into Life. Reality in the form of finding out what you are good at … and ‘good’ being defined on multiple dimensions … talent <functional>, happy <emotional> and ability to ‘deal’ <finding an environment in which you can thrive>. Maybe I could call it healthy pragmatism … adults call it ‘maturing’ <or growing up>.


All of this just to say … sometimes it is good to lean back, grab a cocktail and ponder Life and growing up and adulthood and not get caught up in “what ifs” but rather maybe assess how far you have come and what you went through to get there.


<note: my objective in saying this is not – in this case – to say self reflection is good but rather maybe if you do you will deal with, and manage, the younger generation from a slightly more enlightened perspective>


I admit that when I read the quote I began with on this post I was reminded of something written by Lermentov <possibly one of the best writers most people have never heard of>:


One of the characters in his book “The Hero of our Time” <Pechorin> says of himself … As a boy I was a dreamer and dwelt with loving care on the dark and radiant images traced by my restless eager fancy. And what did it bring? Weariness……And when I came into this real life I had lived it through already in my mind and found it boring and disgusting…


Lermentov also gave us an idea of how this ‘weariness’ happens:

“Everyone saw in my face evil traits that I didn’t possess. But they assumed I did, and so they developed. I was modest, and was accused of being deceitful, so I kept to myself. I had a strong sense of good and evil; instead of kindness I received nothing but insults, so I grew resentful. I was sullen, while other children were gay and talkative. I felt superior to them, and was set beneath them, so I became jealous. I was ready to love the whole world, but no one understood me, so I learned to hate. I spent my blighted youth in conflict with myself and my world. Fearing ridicule I hid my best feelings deep within me and there they died. I spoke the truth but no one believed me, so I took to deceit. Knowing the world and the mainspring of society I became adept at the art of living, Yet I saw that others were happy without that art, enjoying for nothing the advantages I’d worked so hard to gain.”


Well. After reading that … maybe we can better see how so many young people are angry <with the world and with old folk>.


Growing up affects us … and changes all of us.

And there is absolutely a reality to growing up that can seem harsh if you do not keep it in perspective or have someone give it perspective.


“As you get older there comes a time when you’re not scared of the dark or of monsters anymore. You realize the dark is just the dark and monsters don’t exist. growing up monstersBut it’s also when you become scared of other things, people themselves. You learn that not everyone wants to see you succeed. You become aware of people’s underlying intentions and selfish actions. & the monsters you used to check for under your bed at night don’t even compare to some of the things people do.” – a teen


Hmmmmmmmmmmm … I imagine I included this particular thought from a teen to insure that I got to say something like … “we old folk do not want to be the monsters.”


I fear we often are.


Anyway.growing up sucks trap

All my philosophical inane ramblings aside … growing up sucks because it is transition and change and all the things that deal with reality.


Does that ‘sucking’ mean it’s bad? Nope. Certainly not.

It is simply taking that first sometimes bitter sip of reality and Life. It’s kind of up to you on how and when you acquire a taste for Life.


I then I found a great perspective on the realities of growing up from a 23 year old.

I liked it. it reminded me of a lot of things. and it reminded me that while growing up sucks … it can also be accepted with a little smile.


I think it is helpful for us older folk to remind ourselves of this whole growing up <becoming an adult> thing on occasion.


–          Words from a 23 year old starting out:

growing up sucks Grownup-Snoopy… but my first year out in the “real world” has seriously been SUCH a learning and growing experience. It has been weird to see how things, people, places, attitudes, etc. change.

As I look at 23 here are some things I have learned through “adulting”:


–          Everything is more expensive than you think it will be.

Everything. And on the off chance that you manage to snag a great deal on something, you will undoubtedly pay for it several times over the NEXT time you make a purchase because THAT item will be vastly overpriced. Everything balances. Except, your checkbook. You will NEVER have enough money (or time). Never.


–          Taking vitamins becomes less fun.

Flintstones are way more enjoyable than the five, yes, FIVE supplements that I take daily to support my health. Vitamin C, L-Lysine, Super B complex, Fish growing up vitaminsOil, and a Multi-Vitamin.


–          Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong, will go wrong.

Without fail, your computer will break on the day that your supervisor comes to observe your classroom. Inevitably, you will make it to work carrying 7 bags and not one will contain the item you actually need. Unfailingly, the traffic will be 239482394823 times worse than normal when you CANNOT CANNOT be late. Seriously. I hear a great deal of prior planning can help with this, but I am still working on that.


–          Sometimes the highlight of your day will be a runny egg sandwichgrowing up breakfast sandwich and you are just going to have to be okay with that.





–          Cooking, cleaning, laundry, car maintenance, grocery shopping, personal hygiene, budget management, and fitness are all small tasks when separated from one another.

But, when they are ALL your weekly responsibilities on top of a full time job it is so overwhelming that you will want to die. Yes, there are days when I would sell my soul to have a personal assistant (or my mom) just come to Athens for 48 hours and straighten my life out for me. I have seriously considered hiring a housekeeper at times. For information on why this hasn’t happened, refer to item #1.


–          Some of your friends will adjust to adulthood swimmingly. Others will adjust poorly.

In fact, YOU may adjust poorly. Your friendships will experience changes, people’s priorities will shift, and some friendships may end up falling casualty to the cruel world of adulthood. I have one friend in particular who just cannot seem to get it together and it has so horribly impacted her mood and mental stability that it makes it nigh impossible to maintain our bond. So goes life, I suppose. As these changes occur, you will realize just how much you value “quality” over “quantity” in relationships. Your friend group will undoubtedly dwindle, but it’s for the best.


–          You will be exhausted.

When you are not exhausted, you will be lethargic. On the off chance you feel like doing anything, you will find yourself having a more difficult time to find people to play with. All your friends are becoming adults too. They have moved away…moved on…etc. Coffee dates and movie nights will replace bar hopping. Le sigh. Try to make new friends who will keep you young. It’s worth it.


–          The playing field will be leveled. With a steam roller.

Your parents have told you since birth that the important things in life are academics, family, work ethic, etc. But, in high school/college it is just so easy get caught up in the RAH RAH of social norms, popularity, and appearances. Well, turns out your parents are right. Suddenly, high school and college don’t matter and people seek you out based on your successes, goals, and interests. Five of the most popular guys from your high school might suddenly follow you and interact with you on Twitter (it happened!) because you are funny and interesting…even though they probably wouldn’t have spoken to you in high school.


–          Even if you consider yourself someone who doesn’t adhere to the standards set forth  by society when it comes to you life plan/goals, you will probably be judged if, after graduating college, you don’t have some sort of biological ticking time bomb…uh, I mean, clock…inside you.

Your family members will start being very curious about your love life and future career goals. Your facebook will be dominated by white dresses, engagement rings, and smelly babies. Don’t give in. Do things your way. I was reading an article today that said individuals are happiest if they experience 12 relationships before settling on “the one”. So, don’t give in til you are ready. Date, travel, play, get a hobby.


–          You will be judged occasionally for your age.

growing up sucks growing upIf you end up getting a job where you are one of the younger employees, you will have at least a few experiences where someone talks down to you, treats you like a nob, or (this is a big one) refers to you NON-STOP as ‘honey’ or ‘baby’ or ‘sweetheart’.

Don’t despair. Just prove them wrong by kicking tons of ass in the workplace. Also, refrain from listening to Ke$ha at your desk, wearing glittery eye makeup, or appearing hungover. (Okay, oops, I still do some of these things…whatever…)
–          Karma is alive and real.

More so than in college, you will realize that what goes around comes around. The workplace is small and the universe (in some ways) isn’t quite that big either. Make sure you are putting out a lot of good. You will never ever feel like you have enough time for anything, but make sure you still manage to contribute when someone needs you. Make an effort every day to be the most positive person you know. I love going to work everyday and making people laugh or smile anyway possible. Life is too short not to. Plus, doing these things will keep you going too.


–          You will realize that you are no longer the sole player in your decisions and that your decisions are hugely impactful.

In college, if I wanted to skip a class, I would. If I wanted to get McD’s french fries at 3am, I would. If I wanted to wear leggings and no bra, I would. If I wanted to spend $50 on a splurgey pair of shoes, I would. Now, not so much. It has quickly become apparent just how real the consequences of everything are. When you are an adult, people depend on you. Your choices affect your job, your relationships, etc. Also, debt collectors are real. Avoid them. (P.s.-You also get fat easier.)


–          People are good.growing up sucks locker

Yes, people can be annoying, antagonizing, frustrating, idiotic, and often unhelpful …BUT …most people, for the MOST part who you encounter will be good. You will come to value this goodness more and more. As your life becomes harder, you will appreciate when someone makes it easier. You will appreciate the good things that happen. I have had the joy of experiencing a wealth of blessings with the people I have found in my workplace and personal life who have made my transition so much easier. From my parents, to co-workers, to friends, to the people at Kroger who patiently answer my questions about purchase orders … it is NEVER underappreciated.



Good stuff.

Good reminders.

Also good to hear that the young generation ‘gets it.’ No matter how often we want to suggest the young people are ‘lost’ or ‘unprepared’ or whatever ignorance we want to attach to them … they are growing up. They are growing up just as you and I did.

Transitioning into the realities of Life.

Some will be better at it than others … just as we were.


growing up adultsI imagine I share these things so we old folk not only treat our youth with a little more hope … and respect … but also because I fear we ignore what Lermontov warns us of …


“ … weariness …… and when I came into this real life I had lived it through already in my mind and found it boring and disgusting …”



Growing up sucks.

But it is not a complete Life … just a stage. And life should end up neither boring nor disgusting. We old folk should remind ourselves that we do not want to encourage our young people, our future by the way, to believe it is either boring or disgusting.


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Written by Bruce