How do you KNOW?
Sometimes (often, actually) I wonder when I’m going to become a real adult. I look around at other people who are around my age and think they’re adults, and I wonder if people think I am? Then my thoughts invariably pass to “well, what makes an adult? A mortgage? Breeding? A career? A beard?” And what if you have only a couple of these things? Ok, and what if you used to have them, and now you don’t? Are you demoted back to teenagehood?
I’m in that last category these days, having traded in our house for a basement suite so I could go back to school. We haven’t been able to get pregnant yet, so there’s that. I’m working on the career part but I had a career before, I think. I’m pretty sure I did. It depends on how many years a career needs to last for to be called a career.
And all these thoughts, this ambiguity, takes up a lot of mental real-estate for me. I know it shouldn’t, but it does. I don’t have the distraction of kids or work right now and life seems to loom like an unscaleable grey tower of choices, but no answers. How’s that for imagery? It’s not that I’m dissatisfied with my life, far from it. It’s just that I have always operated on the assumption that there are good choices and poor choices, and have set my course to good ones. As I stand at a crossroads of career, family, and ultimately purpose, I’m seeing that there are a myriad of choices, ad they’re all neutral: there are advantages and consequences to each and every one of them. Like kids for example: I look around and see people having fun with and enjoying their kids. I also see single people and couples enjoying their free time and personal development. You can see parents frustrated and unable to cope with the demands of parenthood, as well as childless people and couples lamenting their loneliness because of not having children. It does not seem to matter what you choose, you will experience happiness and sadness, abundance and deficits.
The trick, as far as I can tell, is choosing the thing that makes your heart sing at the time. Is that a corny way to say that? Whatever makes your pulse quicken, your eyes light up, your knees weak and your smile erupt. When a proactive choice is required, this is always the right one, I think. Choosing a career for the money or a mate for the security produces none of these reactions. Going after what and whom you love, that’s what it’s about. And when you choose the thing that makes your heart sing, whether it’s a person, a job, a place to live, an area of study, or a dessert, you’ll never have to apologize or feel guilty about it, because it will be right. Even if it’s not right later and you end up having to change it, it was right then. I think this is how you take responsibility for your choices and your life, and know that of all the choices you could have made, you chose the right thing: when you can accept the good and the bad side of it, and still hear your heart sing.
Maybe that’s what it means to be an adult? I’m not sure, but I’m sticking with this definition for now. School is almost done for me, and now I must choose whether to go to graduate school, work for awhile, work and go to school, work and get coaching training…and the baby issue is still there. Do we have the money and resources to go for adoption now, or should I get established in my career first, and buy a house? How many specialists should we see before we give ourselves a break and just be happy with however life is? (a note on that: we haven’t stopped doing anything in order to get pregnant, and the dreamboat and I are both happy with our life together. I checked with him the other day, so this is fresh confirmation) Because all of these things take mental focus, and I’ve been too focused on too many things at once for too long. I want some simplicity. I want choices to be made for me, dammit! But that’s teenage Brianna talking. Adult Brianna knows that I will choose a path, and soon. And it will be good and bad, but it will be the right thing, because I chose it. And until then I will agonize, and maybe blog. And that’s ok. In the end, it’s all ok 🙂