Adulting–a term developed by Kelly Williams Brown to describe “how to become an adult”. She even has a blog and book with the “468 easy(ish) steps” to get there. Ahh, if only it were so simple! As someone in the throws of adulting myself, I love her humor and the gems of practical advice hidden in the most unlikely of places.
I just had a birthday a week ago, and as usual, birthdays send me into a retrospective mood. So I was thinking over the previous year’s birthday when a few dear friends surprised me with a wonderful, relaxing dinner party. There was food, wine, laughter, thoughtful conversation, a fireplace, and gently falling snow outside. Absolutely ideal. (This was before I really started hating snow, obviously.) This year, my sister came to surprise me for a short visit, and she, my roommate, and I went to a delicious dinner at The Electric Cheetah the night before my birthday. The meal was great and we reflected over the events and accomplishments of the past year, as well as the things we hope to do in the new year. (And I still have to pinch myself to realize I’m not completely dreaming when I say I plan to travel around the world in the next year.) My birthday itself was a wonderful day with a Christmas brunch in the morning and then a whole afternoon and evening to relax at home, crafting, cleaning, and reading.
There was a point when I thought–I am spending my birthday at home ALONE! How pathetic! But I instantly corrected myself when I realized that was the exact thing I wanted to be doing. And then I was able to completely enjoy every moment of my evening, comfortable and confident in my own personality. I am blessed to have these snapshot memories in my mental photo album of birthdays spent in exactly the perfect way for who I am and what I enjoy.
Specifically in this season, I have been learning about myself–but from other people. I’ve had to take personality tests for work and listen to other people speak into who I am. This can definitely be very helpful, at times. I completely identified with my “achiever” and “learner” strengths from the StrengthsFinder test. (I even wrote the blog post on it!) But I think I’m also finding that it’s not necessarily always healthy to just drink those things in and accept it as truth about yourself. Your personality type or strengths or languages of love/appreciation should never be a box in which you must conform or remain. Neither should the descriptors people use about you dictate who you are or what you do.
To start tying this all back together, I think that a part of “adulting” for me has been (still is!) figuring out what to accept from those outside sources, and how to listen within to what/who I am. And listening within–that’s listening to my feelings and listening to the Spirit. Primarily listening to the Spirit. It’s a delicate balance, to take in what others say but to test it before letting it shape your thoughts on who you are. It’s the “adulting” challenge for this season.