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Adulting: They said it would be fun

Many of us have reached our late 30’s, 40’s, and even our 50’s. And in doing so, we can’t believe how time has flown. If the comment, “Well that got out of hand quickly,” comes to mind, just know that others feel the same way.


It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were kids wanting to be adults. Desperate to be adults in fact and counting the days until it would be so.


Playing dress up with our parents’ clothes and make up. Sitting behind the wheel of the family car pretending to drive. Setting up the dining room as an office to go to work.

Those were the days.


Now, those days are here. You’re a grown up. And if your days are awesome, you’re very lucky. But for a great many, those days are stressful, the nights are restless, and a series of “what if” thoughts haunt your quiet moments.


What’s going on here? This is adulting? They said it would be fun!


Well, hold on now. Did any one of us ever actually hear that from our parents, grandparents, or even a neighbor?

If we look back from a child’s perspective, some of those adults were right where we are now. But as children, we didn’t see it through our rose-colored glasses.


Wouldn’t it be great to put them back on? Let’s explore that for a bit.


While things may not be what you want them to be, there’s still time to create a life similar to what you imagined as a kid. But how?

You’re still you, right? Let’s use that to our advantage!


We did or are doing “all the things.” We went to school, got the job, found a mate, maybe even had kids, and are now marching toward, what? Retirement? We can do better than that.


What’s still got a little of your attention? What did you start but not finish? What sounds,… fun?


Okay, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian. That didn’t work out. I love animals, but it was too much science and math. But why didn’t I at least try?


I also wanted to be a nurse. Ugh, there’s science and math again! But I love helping people, that could have been something.


I’ve wanted to be an interior decorator, an actor, a model, and an author…


In the short term, I ended up choosing to follow a more traditional business path and err on the side of safety and familiarity, and that worked, for a while.

However, even in the midst of that life I felt there was a part of me that knew I could still do the things I mentioned before!


Now let’s not get crazy, veterinary or nursing school are huge undertakings, but they are not impossibilities. Just last year I was able to start writing a book and did a little modeling gig for a colleague. There was a time I would never have imagined I could do those things in my 50’s, but I did. I never thought I would start a business either. Are decorating and acting next? Stay tuned!


As we get older, things become more complicated because, well, we humans are complicated. Many of us stop dreaming and start planning. We put aside what fulfills us in place of what makes us feel “normal,” accepted or secure. Once kids come along, it adds a whole new level of responsibility and quite possibility restriction or what we may feel is scrutiny of our lives. These things are what steal our joy and sense of wonder.


So, do we chuck it all and run out and play? Well, not all the time of course not, but we do need to make changes for ourselves in our adulting journey through reflection, evaluation, mindset change, and by taking action. These do require us to bring back an element of "play" but we have to get to a place where we can.




Reflection is an important first step because it helps us get back in touch with who we used to be, what we used to love, and what we thought our lives would look like. Once we can do that, we can open up our minds to what may be (within reason).


When we look back at our own childhood, of course they will look very different from the way we are raising our own children if we have them. Just about every aspect of childhood now is a 180 from our own experience. But think about how the dreams you had then are realized now, with today’s thinking and technology. You can adapt your desire to new ways of thinking and operationalizing your efforts. Imagine how you might be able to rekindle a dream.


Another huge aspect of reflection is looking at how much we distract ourselves. How often are we putting our time and effort into things that don’t move us forward. We can’t stand to be bored so we keep ourselves busy with things that don’t fulfill us like social media and tasks that don't move the needle when we could be using that time to pursue something new.


Reflection helps you put the present into perspective by reacquainting ourselves with the past. Call it a walk down memory lane if you want to but start down the path.




If adulting feels like a drag, you gotta change it. Period. How do you do that?


Ask yourself what are your values? What’s important to you? What do you care about? What interests you? What gives you a sense of peace? These are the areas we need to look at and see how they are helping or hindering our adulting efforts.


But do we even know what really fulfills us? Or are we just guessing?


Do we enjoy everything about parenting? Or are we just going through the motions.


Getting clear on who we are after that walk down memory lane, who we may still want to be in the future, and how that makes us feel is vital. You’re going to be you for a very long time so you might as well enjoy it!


As for parenting, no one can enjoy every aspect of it. Find ways of managing the more difficult areas of your parenting experience to make things better for you and your kids. Perhaps you need support. Maybe counseling. Maybe you just need to light up. All these approaches will help you release some of the things that hold you back.


Mindset Change


Know that it’s not too late. NO, it’s not too late!


Many of us will feel like pursuing something that really lights us up at this stage in our lives is irresponsible or irrational. It’s not. It’s your chance to reach your full potential. The potential you know you have inside. No one else, you. And it’s not selfish. If you are living a life guided by your interests and joy, everyone around you will benefit as well. Adopt a “can do” mindset.


Please don’t compare! Don’t say, “I can’t do this because I should be doing what (INSERT NAME HERE) is doing.” No, that’s their life. It suits them (or it may not). We complicate a lot of our journey through comparison to others. Get right with being you.


As adults, we spend a lot of time in our own heads listening to the negative thoughts we tell ourselves. 80% of thoughts we have are negative and we take those to the bank. How about we invest more in those 20% positive thoughts and run with them?




You may have been a planner up to now, start planning differently. Plan on having more joy in your life by exploring ways to make it happen.


Simplify your life as much as possible. A big part of why “adulting” feels so overwhelming is our attempt to try and do it all, for ourselves and our kids. Like, if we’re not busy, we’re not achieving or earning the air we breathe. Again, filling the quiet moments in life just to fill them. The secret is, there is so much progress in peace. Trust me.


When we are kids, we want it all, the new car, new clothes, trips, experiences. The funny thing is when we get older, we finally learn those are just “things” and what lasts are relationships and memories. Reframe your “wants” and “needs.” I think you’ll find you need less than you think and you'll be happier. If you're not, you have more evaluation to do.


If you’re looking to do something completely different, and funding could be an issue, get clear on your finances because we stress over money and we let drive us or limit us. That stress should not be the reason you don’t live the life you want or dreamed of. 


If you have not been a good saver in the past, start to get better at it. Talk to a certified financial adviser if you need help. Even if it’s just a small amount, saving now will save you from fear and frustration later. Saving was one of the key reasons I was able to move from a corporate job to self-employment. Address the question of finances so it does not become a distraction.


Take care of yourself. Make time for you and take care of your body. Move your body in a way that supports strength and longevity, eat foods that nourish your body, do both to lower your stress and improve your mood. You can do anything with a positive outlook.


Finally, find the people that truly support you. Have someone you can tell all your wild dreams, ideas, and troublesome worries to without fear of their judgement or attempts to manipulate your thinking. Just. Pure. Support. Having someone in your corner, that believes in your dream as much as you do, will help keep you going when the pressure of adulting starts to mount. (Shameless plug for coaching there!)


If being a grown up is feeling a bit tough these days, you’re not alone. But there’s a lot of life left to live.


Put on those rose-colored glasses you wore as a kid and start to look at “adulting” in a whole new way.


Take care and be well,



Kid sitting at a desk working
The future looked bright when you were a kid. It still can be.


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