When I was in my teens I was terrified that some day I would wake up and “be an adult.” No more parties, no more concerts, no more fun times late at night with my friends. It would, in my nightmare vision of the distant future, be mostly working and paying bills.
When I was in my 20s, I was terrified that some day I would wake up and “be an adult.” No more parties, no more concerts, no more fun times late at night with my friends. Work would be dull and boring instead of exciting and challenging, bills would grow, and my life would be dull and grey.
I’m in my 30s now. I host parties of such quality that my apartment bursts at the seams with eager guests. I go to three times as many concerts as I did before. Work is exciting and challenging in ways I couldn’t even grasp in my 20s. My bills have increased, because I can afford a nicer car, a bigger apartment, and more expensive hobbies, and my vastly increased pay more than makes up for it. My life is fuller and richer now than it has ever been.
God has guided me through times of great pain and great joy, and my relationship with him is deeper than ever. My abilities have increased because I have sought out challenges. My hobbies are cooler because I have sought out new and interesting ones. My fears of the dullness of adult life were the result of my own lack of understanding; of adulthood, of life, and of myself.
There are adults who have small, dull, grey lives. There are adults with lives too chaotic to hold together. There are adults in many different circumstances, but never are accountants asked to skydive and never are skydivers required to work in a cubicle.
Our adult lives are not imposed on us by society, but are the result of the choices we make and the habits we cultivate. If we choose to refuse responsibility for our education or for our rent, we will have lives without degrees or homes. If we choose to throw ourselves into the service of the church or into pursuit of our passions, we will have lives of richness. The more we experience failure and continue trying, the more we will understand success.
Adulthood is not a fate of drab billpaying. It is the life you are constantly building every day. In my 30s I am looking forward to my 40s and 50s and 80s, because whether my nation collapses in war or plants colonies on the moon, I will have God with me and God will have made me into the person that I was meant to be. In my case that means someone who throws excellent parties, goes to concerts, and reads a lot. In your case it may mean someone who connects with other people, or who builds homes, or who travels. Adulthood is not a mold into which we are stamped, but the tree into which we grow, watered by streams of living water.
Flickr photo by Jeremy Wilburn