Grin and Bear It

Grin and bear it.

Fake it ‘til you make it.

Don’t worry, be happy.

Lately, I’ve been muttering these idioms to myself over and over again. They aren’t new phrases—I’ve heard them before—but something about my life recently has brought back these words in full swing. Which, to be honest, I completely hate. There’s something to be said about not showing all of your emotions on your sleeve, but to act out a life that you don’t feel is truly yours is unhealthy and unproductive.

And yet, here I am.

Is it just me, or are these phrases particularly true for the twentysomethings of the world? I don’t even think I knew what those phrases meant until I was in my twenties! And how sad is it that they even exist? I wish we could just say what we are feeling, act as we wish (within reason) without the consequences that come with being an adult.

Not entirely coincidentally, I think I’ve said, “I hate being an adult!!!” more times this week than I have in my entire adult life combined.

Here are twentysomething things I have been feeling particularly grouchy about as a twentysomething, grinning and bearing it, faking it until I make it:

  1. My bank account
    • No matter how many days I work and how much money I save, I always end up at Target spending $40 for no apparent reason.
  2. People in general
    • You feel me on this one, right?
  3. My weekends
    • i.e. sitting alone at Starbucks all night Friday, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday.
  4. My job
    • Yup, even this lately. I refuse to believe that part of being an adult means accepting that your job is “just a job.” I will continue to search for something I truly am passionate about.
  5. My hobbies
    • Hobbies cost money, in case you didn’t know. So if I want to start taking Italian lessons, learn to play the cello, or even pick up knitting again, all of those things cost money (please refer to #1).
  6. Cooking
    • I’ve resorted to opening a can of black beans and a can of corn and throwing it onto some tortilla chips for a homemade Mexican meal.
  7. Going to the gym
    • I just don’t want to.
  8. Laundry
    • Again?! How many pairs of underwear do I need to buy to avoid doing laundry forever?
  9. Cleaning my apartment
    • I’m not that dirty…and yet, no matter how hard I try, there is always some sort of cleaning to be done.
  10. Eating past reasonable hours
    • Two nights ago, I couldn’t sleep at all and ended up making myself a bowl of pasta and 4:30 in the morning. It was not okay.
  11. The weather
    • Is it summer? Is it winter? I wish it would make up its mind.
  12. Clothes
    • 85% of my time is spent wearing tucked in button-down shirts. Remember the days of t-shirts or hoodies and ripped jeans?
  13. What I want to do vs. what I actually do
    • If possible, I’d just work at Starbucks for the rest of my life. Yes, that would make me happy. But is that what I’m doing? No.
  14. Lack of social circle
    • A broken record on this one. It’s hard to make friends in a new place!
  15. Long-distance friendships
    • …which are even harder to maintain. And in addition to sounding like a chore, I genuinely miss my friends.
  16. Lack of significant person
    • I hadn’t thought much about this one at all until I realized, last night, that I haven’t even had a romantic interest since my last boyfriend. Where are all the people at?!
  17. Traveling to see family
    • My sister is a senior this year. Prom, graduation, graduation party. And as much as I love seeing the family, driving five hours one way to see them is really starting to feel like a lot.
  18. Responsibility
    • Since when am I responsible during the summer? I thought summer was for fun and playtime and enjoyment and endless ice cream cones. Nope. Adulthood has got you fooled.
  19. Obligations
    • When you’re an adult, sometimes you really just don’t have a choice. No matter how much you kick and scream and don’t want to.
  20. The past
    • Plagued by the What Ifs?
  21. The present
    • Plagued by the What Now?
  22. The future
    • Plagued by the What Nexts?
  23. This blog post
    • A whiny compilation of twentysomething things that I’ve been annoyed about that come with being an adult, therefore forcing me to do nothing but grin. And bear it.

Welcome to adulthood.

Avoiding the Brain Blame

Well, wow. A whole lot has happened since my last blog post. I’m not even sure where to begin. I’ve debated my choice of career, thought about switching my life path, reflected on love and relationships, got a job at Starbucks for the summer (!!), did some laundry, downloaded Dogfight the Musical soundtrack to my phone, decided to cut carbs from my diet, and even got a haircut. PHEW. I am exhausted just typing that all out. All in the week of an average twentysomething…am I right?

I thought I’d start with a brief anecdote. The other day, as I was lying on my bed, I opened my Tinder app (God help me) for nothing other than boredom, hoping to maybe see someone cute and start a conversation. Within a few minutes, I was matched with a 19 year old. Not that bad, right? Only five years difference. He was definitely cute and seemed intelligent (from the one photo I could see of him reading a book by some park). Great. Until I remembered that my sister is now 18, and that this cute mysterious Tinder boy was closer in age to my baby sister than he was to me.

With that in mind, I started thinking about how old I really was, almost a quarter of a century. And then a random statistic from my Psych 101 class popped into my head: the human brain is not fully developed until at least 25 years of age. How I interpret that: all of life’s mistakes before the age of 25 can be somewhat forgiven because the brain isn’t fully developed. Before the age of 25 if you drank too much, no problem. Promiscuous behavior? It’s part of the experience. Also, the fact that I just used the phrase “promiscuous behavior” shows that I am too freaking old to even be thinking about blaming anything on my undeveloped brain.

The point is this. As a mature 24 year old, I feel like my brain must be fully developed by now. Granted, that doesn’t mean I will ever be fully developed as a person, because growth and change is a good thing for anyone, regardless of the age.

So why does this matter? Because as a twentysomething with a fully developed brain, I can’t be blaming things on my age anymore. I’m not “too young.” And by now, I actually do know better. This afternoon, I went to Michael’s to inquire about custom framing for a piece of art work I recently purchased. Any more steps in that direction and I’ll be begging for prune juice and denture cream.

So, I’ve done a lot of reflecting lately. Am I in the right career path? Am I doing what I truly love to do? The life I live…is it the one I want? Do I want a husband and kids like I always thought I did? Am I happy with who I am at the very core of my existence? I’m not sure. To any of those questions. And if I answer anything but “yes” to any of those questions, I have to be honest, it scares the shit out of me. Because I’ve always prescribed to this one idea of what my life would be, what I wanted my life to be. And now, just as my brain is supposed to be fully developed, I’m having all these second thoughts. THANKS A LOT, BRAIN!

But I have one piece of advice…the reason I wanted to write this post specifically: it’s okay.

It’s okay!

It will all be okay.

Life may not be exactly what I thought at this moment, but everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that. For example, last night I unintentionally fell asleep with gum in my mouth (at 8:30pm, mind you). Long story short, I woke up an hour later with gum plastered all over my comforter. It happened because I have really been meaning to wash that comforter for weeks…and I just never got around to it, until I had no other choice.

Things might not be how you imagine, but there’s always at least two sides to every situation. The thing I’m still struggling with is not necessarily adapting to life when it doesn’t go as planned, but realizing that the life you worked so hard to plan isn’t necessarily the one you wanted. And that’s okay too. Because, as one of my mentors always says, “You can always change your mind.”

And she’s right.