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Adulthood 101

Somewhere along my way, I was having a conversation with a
snowboard instructor. He said that most people attempt to learn themselves, as
they go, and thus when they come to him, he has to retrain them in the correct
ways to do the sport, and unlearn the bad habits they picked up from their own
trial and error.
When I had my depth hypnotherapy session on Thursday, we/I
came to an interesting statement: It’s not my fault that I don’t know how to be
an adult. And that I would both have to forgive myself, and allow myself the
patience to learn.
Most of us are sort of thrust into the world with little
idea of how to navigate it, and based on the resources we have available, we
make choices, which then make habits. Like the snowboarders, some of these habits
have to be broken, because they are eventually causing more harm to us than
good.
Taking responsibility for myself and my life has never formed itself as a habit. It has been “easier” to make decisions by default, allowing the
clock to run out, so a decision is made for me. Or to eek by on the path of
least resistance and least gain, and measure out a mediocre and dissatisfying
life. It’s been that way since grade school, making moderate efforts that achieved pretty
good results, simply on the fact that I had wits about me.
But, the “real world” (whatever made that phrase popular, I’ll
never know; is there a fake one? are some more real than others?) doesn’t reward of half-assedness. All that I’ve ever read about
success or achievement has been predicated on firm and consistent effort, on perseverance,
and on taking responsibility, since, really, no one will do it for us. (I’ve
written some about this limbo non-adulthood in my most frequently read blog post — likely due to its titillating title — “Magical Accidental
Orgasm,” and that was some time ago, yet still stands true.)
What my friend said the other day about creating a life worth
living implies, no, necessitates taking responsibility. And for a long time, I’ve beat myself up
for not being a persistent, consistent person. Lashing myself for being a
half-asser, for starting things I don’t finish. … Instead of allowing myself to
learn how to be another way.
These are just patterns that have become habits. They are
not irreversible. But I first have to forgive myself for not knowing what I don’t
know. It isn’t my fault that I don’t
know how to save money and invest in a 401(k). I am not an inherently broken
person because I don’t have longevity on my resume. It is not a hangable
offense to not know how to have an intimate relationship based on mutuality,
trust, and empathy.
The offense is in not making effort to change this. And, so,
slowly, I do, and am. I excavate this shame, show it to the light, let the
facets of belittlement and lies burn off in the sun, and lay it to rest, as I
call you up and ask you, Hey, how do you file taxes properly? How do you know
how much to put in a savings account? What are your systems of checks-and-balances
that keep you moving forward and taking action on your own behalf every day, and not sinking into lethargy and Facebook?
If I want to live, and I do, then I’d like to learn how to live differently. It won’t be the easy,
sliding by way, but that easy sliding by way has become more painful than helpful now, and ultimately, it isn’t how I want to be, or who I feel myself to be.
As the phrase goes, “This isn’t an overnight matter,” but
the small action of holding myself and my history with compassion rather than derision is likely
to help the process. 

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