After college, many of my friends and fellow graduates (myself included) took a deep breath and stepped out into the world, thinking “I guess I’m an adult now”. I had no idea what that meant outside of the basics: get a job, get married, pay bills, die, etc. which it seemed like all adults did while I was growing up. But what does it mean to feel like an adult? To feel like the grown-ass man I was now regarded to be? I waited for everything to come together, that if I pondered it hard enough a change would take place in my way of thinking about the world and myself. That didn’t come, and I continued to hope I would for the day I felt I was doing something other than stumbling.
Recently, I made a small breakthrough on my life’s journey to have the sense that I was a real person. As our generation has so eloquently put by reformatting a noun into a verb, I was learning what it felt like to adult. This foray into adulting began when I decided to take the plunge and accept more responsibilities at my place of work. I am more than thankful for the opportunity I have to work where I do. Every day is different, but sometimes the stress of the responsibility I am given along with my inexperience can sap my confidence and my motivation. So I tried to avoid doing things that made me uncomfortable or took me out of my complacency. Although, my day-to-day job is simply finding out that it’s hard to be uncomfortable with anything the human body can do anymore. So I said yes to more responsibility, agreeing to work strange hours and helping where I could, even though up to that point I was highly anxious about my work life.
What I found through this small trial is that my life didn’t become more stressful, the opposite began to happen. While I did not want to be doing these things or accepting these responsibilities, I went through the motions anyway. I didn’t wait for the confidence and the motivation to come, I did what I felt I had to do. And soon enough, the confidence and assurance came along with it. I was handling this new challenge in my life, and I wasn’t falling apart the way I assumed I would. I rose to the occasion and found confidence in myself. This is meant to serve as a confidence booster for anyone else who is currently in my position. Believe me, I’m still in that place a lot of the time, but I’ve found a way to get past it by simply pushing through. We can’t wait around until we “feel” like an adult or “feel” like a man. Taking action and changing our environment leads to a personal, inward change. It teaches resilience and shows us that yes, deep breath honey, we can do it. Too often we think things work the other way around. But in reality we become by doing.
“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things” — Theodore Roosevelt