How to be an adult

New Year's Day

New Year’s Day

The following will mostly be rambling:

Yesterday I realized that I graduated college 9 years ago… It was a startling truth.  It’s always weird to me when someone asks how old I am, I tell them, and they have that terrible look of shock on their face. I mean… I never feel like my age should warrant such a horrific expression of disbelief and wonder. But alas, it does.

30 isn’t really that old. But it’s that age so many people dread. Like, somehow you’ve crossed this weird invisible line to ACTUALLY being an adult. 21 is more like a super positive cheerleader, “Yeah, you’re officially an adult but you have so much time to figure out what you want to do, you’re so young! Make mistakes! Have fun!” and 30  is like this super bony pointed finger in your back yelling, “Your womb is going to dry up! Don’t you know what you want to BE yet!? Why are you wasting time? You need to settle down and be a real grown up.” And I’m like, “Whatever. Ima play every day, go to bed late, and draw pictures at work.”

I drew this at work yesterday... It's not done yet, but you get the point.

I drew this at work yesterday… It’s not done yet, but you get the point.

Last year my friend Ashleigh expressed her concern over Gchat, “I just don’t get it. How do you go to bed so late and still have the energy of a five year old who just snorted lines of pure sugar!?” I wouldn’t go that far, but I get where she’s coming from.

I think that horrific expression people give me when they hear I’m 30 is maybe because of my lifestyle and energy level. Maybe not? Either way, I’m no expert, but being an ‘adult’ is pretty rad and I’ve learned a lot in the past few years of life about things I value and how I perceive the world around me, life events, and conflict. So, here are 6 ways I have learned to be an adult:

1) Laugh a LOT

Laugh with my coworkers, laugh with my students, laugh with my friends, laugh at myself. Luckily, I chose the right dude to spend all my time with. One of the main reasons I liked Kyle so much right away was because he made me laugh… A LOT. I try really hard not to take life too seriously, because I have no clue when death is going to snatch me up. I like to joke, listen and tell stupid stories. I don’t like being around people who are downers all the time. Sometimes, I even hide friends’ Facebook feeds if most of their posts are complaining, #sorrynotsorry. I tell jokes, and very stupid ones, to my Japanese co-workers even when I don’t know how appropriate it is… works every time:)

2) Exercise and do the things you love

MOVE. That’s it. Oh yeah, and stretch. I like to be constantly moving and active. I take the stairs instead of the escalator, I walk 8 miles a day for work in winter instead of taking a car, I play sports that I like playing, and I do stuff that will ultimately help my body be strong. Basically, I just want to make sure I’m strong enough and energized enough to do all the things I want to do physically, now that my bones and muscles are starting to feel it a lot more. If I get a super rockin’ body as a result of that? Sweet! I think it’s important not to use that as the driving force, but who wouldn’t enjoy being stoked on what they see in the mirror when they have no clothes on? I try to think of exercise as a lifestyle rather than a means to an end. It also helps that Kyle makes me take the stairs during the days I want to take the escalator. My own personal cheerleader.

3) Eat everything that tastes good and don’t eat the crap that doesn’t

Why waste my time eating stuff that I don’t enjoy? TORTURE!! Seriously though, I love food. I love it so much. I love it almost as much as I love my family and myself. But what I do try to do is control what I’m eating with portion sizes and substitutions. Yeah, these nachos might taste a LITTLE better with ACTUAL sour cream instead of yogurt, buuuut they still taste pretty damn good! And when I have that one day where I finish 3/4 of a pizza on my own? I don’t beat myself up over it.

4) Reflect and Re-evaluate

Know what I want and not what everyone else wants for me. People like to tell me what I should be doing with my life, or how I should probably make decisions. But, I know what I want in and for my life, and I need to be cool with that even when other people aren’t. As long as I’m not hurting other people or myself, I’m golden. I take time to be alone, to pray, and to think about whether or not I am living my life the way I want to live it. It’s a hard line to draw of course. If those people closest to me are telling me one thing, then I definitely need to re-evaluate my life choices to see if they are hurting either me or those I care about, then, all I need to do is change accordingly. Things I’m working on: SAYING when I am wrong, trying to woo-sa myself back into calm when I’m pissed, turning my attitude around quicker after getting in a fight with people.

5) Enjoy people

Appreciate all the good things about those around me and forget all the other stupid things that annoy me. If a person just has way way way too many qualities that don’t mesh with mine, then it’s OK to accept that maybe we weren’t meant to be friends. I have to ask the Big Man Upstairs to give me a heart of love for everyone I meet. It’s not easy, and I constantly fail at it, but overall I think I’m lucky to say that it’s definitely something I’m getting better at! I have some really great friends with amazing abilities and qualities, and I try (and still want to be better at) telling them how much I appreciate them and how impressed I am with them. Because like I said earlier, I dunno when death is gonna come swoop me up, and when it does I hope everyone I care about knows exactly that, that I love them.

6) Communicate

Life is way to short to keep things in. I want everyone to know exactly what I feel when I feel it. I used to be super closed off to people around me, and it made it extremely hard to read me, but not being that way has seriously made my life so easy. I mean, if people know what I think or feel about whatever, there are no questions. No guessing, no games. Communicate clearly and openly with my friends and family about what I want or need. It’s been crazy to see how much crap disappears and how much life is improved with an open line of communication.

There you have it. As an adult I get to choose to do all those things, and those are the things that ultimately matter to my life. I don’t have my future figured out, I don’t own a house or pay a car loan, I don’t have kids or a dog or an awesome yard with a fence. But i do have a place to sleep, a car to drive, a family that I love, and a body to play in. And as the new year is beginning, I don’t think there is anything I really want to change:)

Apple orchards just outside of Hirosaki. I think it's a pretty good life.

Apple orchards just outside of Hirosaki. I think it’s a pretty good life.

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