The adult world is a scary place.
It moves so fast. There’s so much to do and so many places to be. We can’t stop the mounting pressures and responsibilities that add up as we start to venture out in the world. We can’t put a halt to the demands and obligations that are put on us in grown-up life. Every step we take has consequences as we get older and become more immersed in the game of modern society—and this takes its toll on our psyche.
This can be pretty overwhelming, considering we often still feel like children inside for the most part.
I heard a comedian once say that “when we were kids, we all used to think that there was such a thing as real adults who knew what’s going on, but when we get older, we come to the horrifying realization that no one knows what the hell is going on. We are all just sort of pretending that we do.”
It is a strange moment when we realize that there is no such thing as “real adults,” and that the people running the world are just tall children who are more experienced than kids, but often just as ridiculous and infantile.
What I’ve been wondering is—how do we move powerfully through the adult world while maintaining the beautiful simplicity and sense of wonder that our childhood provided? How do we become grown-ass people?
Personally, I have not dealt with a lot of the problems young adults run into when they start to go off into the world. My challenge has been attempting to overcome a severe chronic health condition that has plagued me for the past five years.
I am 23 years old now, and my first adult experiences have had more to do with endless doctor visits and debilitating physical symptoms, than they have with going to school, having relationships, and looking for jobs like most other young people. The past few years have been a spiritual journey into adulthood, rather than a physical or literal journey.
Still, I feel that I have a few things to say when it comes to breaching adulthood with grace and becoming a grown-ass man (or woman). Here are a few tips on how to enter and move through the adult world in a way that speaks to our essential nature as human beings:
1. Take responsibility for everything in our lives. Don’t blame other people or society for our downfalls.
2. Stay true. This means being connected with one’s inner child and having an ongoing dialogue with our souls.
3. Have faith. When things get difficult, believe that they will get better if we continue to serve our highest purpose.
4. Don’t become bitter, no matter what; that is childish.
5. Always say “yes” to life. This means living in a way that would serve the final wishes we’d make on our deathbed. Resist nothing. Take every opportunity that is presented to us.
Ultimately, being a grown-ass man entails being present with ourselves. Knowing ourselves—what we want, what we need, what we are like. I do a stream-of-consciousness journaling exercise that helps me with this. I sit with pen in hand over a strip of paper and let my thoughts and feelings roam free. I write what is in my heart and on my mind, without overthinking anything. I just let it flow. Thoughts and feelings come, but there is no attachment to them. Just the immediate experience of it all, reminding me that the present moment is always here.
When I engage in this practice, I feel more connected and closer to myself. This is what being an adult means to me. When we feel most ourselves and connected to our inner power, we are comfortable moving through the world and taking action when necessary. Feeling good on the inside and being strong on the outside is what defines a mature human being.
Everyone is going to have their own ways of becoming grown-ass people, so it’s really up to us to find our own ways that are unique to our own life experience. We must use whatever is available to reach our potential as human beings.
This life is crazy. The world is losing its goddamn mind. What we need more than anything is a generation of grown-ass spiritual warriors to bring about positive change in the world—and guess what? I am f*cking optimistic. The power lives within all of us to make the necessary changes to be mature and effective adults, while maintaining the wonder and the magic that was most alive when we were children.
It takes practice, a bit of toughness, and a dab of faith. That’s all.
Author: Samuel Kronen
Image: Instagram @elephantjournal
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton