Adulthood is an act of bravery

by P. Braithwaite

I hosted Thanksgiving at my apartment for the first time. I cooked. I cleaned. I set the table and bought beer. I made Sangria. If I had candles I would’ve lit them.

My family arrived and I took care of them. These people, who’ve spent years taking care of me, were on my couch in my apartment, watching my television. It felt great! For the first time in my life, I realized I had enough to share with others. I trusted myself enough to let other people lean on me. Allowing others to rely on you isn’t about abundance…it’s about trust — trust in yourself and your ability to survive. I’m sure I’ve been able to do this before, but this felt like a monumental moment. I’m the baby of my family, and its easiest to let others take the lead. Lately tho, I’m aware that I am strong enough take care of myself AND have enough left for other people. I’m learning that giving doesn’t diminish, it amplifies.

I’m an adult.

In a recent, rather heated, conversation I was told that I think: “it’s all about me, what I want, what I need, where I’m going, and what I feel…”

At first I was taken aback. I respect the person who said this, so I had to check in: Is it all about me? Is my
head up my ass? Am I selfish? Am I losing sight of other people’s needs?

No…I’m a f*cking adult.

It is all about me, to a certain extent. This is my life and I get to decide how I live. I’m my own guardian. No one is a better advocate for me…than me. My life is no longer my parent’s responsibility. I’m not an awkward preteen looking for autonomy thru my friends. I am who I am, and the rest is up to me. If I have desires, I must fulfill them. If I have needs, I must communicate them. If I have a vision, it is up to me to bring it to frution. The only person who can block me…is me.

I’m an adult.

It’s hard to claim ownership of your own damn life. Excuses are easier. Distractions are abundant: He won’t let me be great; She doesn’t believe in me; They just won’t accept me as I am.

It’s hard and scary to stop blaming others. Its hard and scary to love yourself enough take ownership. It’s even harder and scarier to open yourself up and share with others…knowing that you will be okay.

The older I get the more I understand: Adulthood isn’t about age; it’s about bravery.

So I’m getting there. I am understanding my right to have feelings and needs. I’m learning to be my own gatekeeper: keeping only what serves ‘the me’ I’m striving to be. So I will pamper myself and fight for myself and commit to myself…because, from this place I can give authentically. At my best, I feel connected to everything and everyone…so if it’s all about me…it’s all about everyone else as well.

So as I wake up too early on Sunday morning and enjoy the unseasonably warm air in one of the greatest cities in the free world…as I sit with my soul friend and taste hollandaise for the first time…as I go home and mark papers and watch my favorite football team on television…I understand that I’m so blessed, and so loved, and so overflowing, but I also understand that I’m an adult. My life, for better
or worse, is about me…my life is my most important work of art. And tho I’m the star of my own damn life… I’m happiest when I’m giving and sharing my little spotlight. Sharing, after all, is part of growing up.

And I learned that one before I became an adult…