Adult growing pains are a real thing, I swear. Look it up. Okay, maybe don’t… But take my word for it when I say I have felt them, and I currently feel them. As a twenty-something post-grad in NYC, I know adulting is a lifestyle and growing up is painful.
An entire year has passed since I graduated college, moved to NYC and found my first job. It’s terrifying to think about. Even more scary is the fact that I am a stable(ish), functioning, bill paying member of society. Yet, I still have no idea what taxes are. I obviously have no idea how to properly read my lease agreement (more to come on that one later), and the idea of a savings account is too fuzzy for me to wrap my head around at the moment.
Step-by-step I am learning lessons the hard way and shedding a few, not so cute, tears all in the name of adulthood. Yay me!
Thankfully, I read (surprise, I know) a really great article the other day about happiness. Instead of asking ourselves, “What will it take to make me happy,” we should ask, “What pain am I willing to go through to obtain this certain goal?”
This may sound weird, but it also makes a lot of sense. When you think of super fit people with six-packs and envy them to no end, think to yourself, “What struggle am I willing to put myself through to get those abs?” If you aren’t willing to go through the pain and the sacrifice that those enviable humans have gone through (i.e. no wine, no cheese and no joy), then maybe that idea of happiness isn’t really YOUR idea of happiness.
If you want the awesome job with the awesome paycheck, but you aren’t willing to work overtime, sweat it out for your boss, or work hard at all, then maybe an awesome job with an awesome paycheck isn’t really what you want.
The same can be said for love. If you want to fall in love, but you aren’t willing to go through the pain of heartbreak, then love probably isn’t on your top-list of deep-rooted desires right now.
When we start asking ourselves, “What am I willing to struggle for,” instead of “What will make me happy,” then we find our true hearts’ desires. As I dive further into the vast ocean of adulthood this concept becomes ever more prevalent in my life. I am still figuring my life out, and that means taking note of what I am willing to struggle for. A lot of this past year has included trying new things, going new places, meeting new people and staying connected to my old life all at the same time. I failed, a lot. But, I also succeeded sometimes.
And by success, I don’t mean I earned a lot of money and lived happily ever after, but that would be a fun idea. Instead, I am measuring my success by what I learned about my life, my future and myself. (Oh, and I consider it a success that I am still employed and can still pay my bills after a full year. Congrats to me?)
For example, after entertaining the idea of moving back home, giving up on New York City and wallowing in my struggles, I decided that I couldn’t do that, because the life I dream of IS something worth struggling for. Not to mention, it is pretty awesome.
We need growing pains to grow into adults; there is no way around it, even though I sometimes desperately wish there was. But, in the end we grow through our struggles, tears, letdowns and heartbreaks. The struggles will probably never cease, but I am learning that is okay.
I could wish for an easier, better 2016, but that would be no fun. Instead, here’s to more struggles in 2016, full of valleys and peaks and everything in between.