10 Reasons Why Growing Up Doesn’t Actually Suck


It doesn’t take a genius to realize that our modern society values youth very highly.  Turn on the TV or flip through any magazine & you will be greeted with a veritable host of ads showcasing products that proclaim they can “erase wrinkles,” “cover up greys,” or “give you the energy of youth,” etc, etc.  In the media we are constantly assaulted with pictures of young hot celebrities & on a more day-to-day level we inevitably hear people making comments about how much getting old & growing up sucks.  Since graduating from college I have even noticed a difference in the things I see on Facebook.  I now see a lot of statuses about how much “real life” sucks & there seems to be a ridiculous amount of nostalgia going around for the innocence & simplicity of childhood.  Now I for one spent a great deal of my childhood & adolescence pining for adulthood & the freedoms it would bring.  Perhaps in some ways it’s sad that I didn’t just enjoy my life to the fullest at those stages as I suppose most kids/teens do.  But I have to say that even though being an adult is hard, I for one am not disappointed at all.  I am happier now than I’ve ever been.  One of my greatest goals in life is to always retain the energy & vibrancy of youth while balancing this with the wisdom & serenity of getting older.  So today I thought I’d compile a list of reasons why growing up doesn’t actually suck.  In truth there are a lot of things I LOVE about getting older & I think our society could certainly use a reminder of these things from time to time, so here we go:

growing up

  1. Growing up means no longer having to obsess over every facet of your appearance.  I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but when I was a teenager I spent entirely too much time worrying about every tiny bit of my appearance.  If even one hair was out of line, I was sure I looked horrible & that everyone was secretly laughing at me.  Though I’ve never been the type to really follow fashion trends, I still felt the need to be as “in style” as possible.  Well, one of the great things about getting older is the ability to just not give a crap about such things.  And to know that you are better off because of it.  I don’t mean that I don’t care about looking my best; I certainly do.  But if I have a “bad hair day” or a day when my acne is acting up & making my face look like a teenager’s all over again, I have the maturity to know that this too shall pass.  I also know that if anyone thinks less of me for not wearing the trendiest clothes or not having perfect skin or anything superficial like that, then those people aren’t worth worrying about anyway.  I’m far from the confident person I hope to be someday but I’ve also come a long way from the girl I used to be, & I’m proud of that.
  2. Growing up means realizing that your mom was right when she said it was more important to be respected than to be liked.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m a born people-pleaser.  It just comes naturally to me to want to make others happy & to be well-liked by everyone.  But I have learned to temper that when necessary because I have discovered that it truly is impossible to please everyone all the time.  And that’s ok.  It’s just life.
  3. Stemming from the last point, getting older means having the courage to say no to people who are just trying to use you to their own advantage.  It means having enough self-respect to not waste your valuable time on people who don’t actually care about you.  Getting older means realizing that your worth is not diminished by those who do not recognize or appreciate you.  This gives you the confidence to say no to those who do not actually have your best interests at heart.
  4. Getting older means not having to panic every time something doesn’t go “your way.”  It means realizing that just because you’ve had a bad day or even a bad week, month, or year, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to have a bad life.  And getting older means realizing that your attitude is the greatest determinant in your own happiness.  (This is both scary & enlightening.  I could write a whole blog post on this subject & I probably will soon.)
  5. Getting older means learning how to agree to disagree.  It means building friendships with people who are vastly different from you & instead of trying to “convert” them you are content to learn from each other & use your differences to build a stronger relationship.
  6. Getting older means independence.  Ah, what a glorious word!  This is what I longed for so much as a child.  I know most people end up regretting such longings because they say the price of freedom is too great.  But I disagree.  I think if you make good decisions in life, you will set yourself up for success & you’ll be able to reap the rewards of independence to the fullest.  I love that as an adult I can choose my career, my spouse, where I live, what house to buy, what to wear, who to be friends with, where to go to school, what to eat, basically everything!
  7. Growing up means realizing that there is no one right way for everyone in life.  There’s nothing more freeing than understanding that there is no exact prescription for success that every person must follow.  Growing up means having the freedom to make mistakes & learn from them.
  8. Growing up means realizing that sometimes life sucks.  It means looking evil in the face & realizing that this world is a cold & scary place.  (That wasn’t supposed to rhyme…)  I know this must seem like a bad thing.  And it’s this loss of innocence that so many people mourn so greatly.  But I’ve never understood why people celebrate innocence so much.  It’s nothing more than an illusion.  For of what value is happiness if it’s based on something that is fake?  To me that’s what “innocence” is.  It’s the happiness that comes from not realizing how bad the world can really be.  I think the happiness we can experience as adults is all the greater because we have had to see so many of the dark sides of life too.  Which is of greater value: the happiness of a child who does not yet understand the world or the happiness of an adult who has looked into the pit of hell, faced the monsters of the world, & come out alive?  Maybe I was a weird child (ok, who am I kidding, I was DEFINITELY a weird child for a number of reasons), but I don’t ever remember feeling the type of blissfully ignorant happiness that people always talk about children experiencing.  In any case, I believe the happiness & love we can experience as adults is all the greater because it’s a real choice.  We have chosen to seek joy even though we have seen that life is often cruel & unfair.  We have chosen to seek peace even though we know that life can be violent to even the meekest of us.  This thought process requires a bit of mental gymnastics at times but I truly believe I am happier now than I’ve ever been.  Yes, I have days when I look at the world & feel like there’s no hope.  But those days aren’t the norm & when they do happen I have the wisdom to know those feelings will pass.  Whew, that was a deep one.
  9. Growing up means realizing that the journey is as important as the destination.  It means understanding that life is short & we truly must live every day like it’s our last, as cliché as that may be.
  10. Getting older means realizing that just because your life isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it isn’t great.  It’s so easy to look in the mirror & think “I’d be so much prettier if my nose were just a little straighter” or “I’d be so much happier if I could afford that fancy car I’ve always wanted” or any number of such things.  It’s so easy to compare yourself to your friends, coworkers, or even celebrities & feel like your life just doesn’t measure up.  But growing up means realizing that everyone’s life isn’t measured against the same yardstick.  We all have our own meter for success & happiness & that’s the only one that really matters.

 As an addendum, if anyone wants to help me create better titles for my blog posts, that would be awesome.  I like to think I’m a pretty decent writer but when it comes to creating titles for papers, essays, poems, or blog posts, I’m always at a loss, as you can clearly see by the super clever title of this post.  😉

All Kinds of Kinds


Now some point a finger and let ignorance linger/If they’d look in the mirror they’d find/That ever since the beginning to keep the world spinning/It takes all kinds of kinds . . . ~ Miranda Lambert’s All Kinds of Kinds

People take different roads seeking fulfillment & happiness.  Just because they are not on your road does not mean they are lost.  ~ Dalai Lama

Dalai lama quote

Currently my mind is awash with various ideas that I want to write about but nothing much of value seems to be coming out of all this muddle.  You know that feeling when you have so many ideas that you can’t really settle on any of them?  Yeah, that’s where I am right now.  It’s times like this that I so desperately need to write & yet often when my mind is so overwhelmed like this I sit down to write & the words run away from me the way I run from a snake when I see one.

In all of this madness the two quotes at the beginning of this post keep coming back to me.  I’ve heard that Miranda Lambert song on the radio a few times lately & I keep finding myself looking it up on YouTube to listen to it again because the words strike such a chord with me.  The Dalai Lama quote is something I came across on Facebook last week & instantly loved.  This idea that there is no one right way for everyone is one of those universal truths that as an adult I keep stumbling upon.  I stay stumbling upon because it’s an idea that I really cherish & yet it’s one that I think we all struggle to really remember from day to day.  I don’t have any scientific backing for this, but I’m pretty sure it’s wired into our DNA somewhere to compare ourselves to each other, perhaps women being the worst perpetrators here.  As much as I love the internet & truly believe that social media can enhance our lives for the better, sadly such things can also encourage that innate drive to compare ourselves to everyone around us.  The unfortunate result of such comparisons is usually one of two things.  First, we often find ourselves feeling inadequate because we inevitably see others who we PERCEIVE are prettier, skinnier, richer, smarter, more successful, etc than ourselves.  Second, we often find ourselves criticizing others because we do not agree with certain aspects of our lives.  I believe it is a sign of our own insecurity that we are so often quick to judge others instead of relishing the fact that not everyone is just like us.  Instead of feeling either inadequate or self-righteous when we see others living differently than us, we ought to be thankful that in truth “to keep the world spinning, it takes all kinds of kinds.”  Just think how boring the world would be if we were all alike?  One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life is that when I open myself up to new ideas, new ways of thinking, & new experiences, that is when I really learn & that is often when I feel most alive.

Now I realize this thought process could lead to some dangerous territory if we took it too literally.  Obviously there are some things like child molestation & murder that as a society we have to reject as immoral.  We cannot accept ALL behaviors or else the world would be even more chaotic than it already is.  As with almost everything in life, it all comes back to “everything in moderation.”  I truly believe if we could all learn these concepts, the world would be a better, more peaceful place.

As I’m writing this I sincerely hope I don’t come across as arrogant or preachy.  I’m as guilty of not following these principles as anyone.  But I’m working on it.  And that’s what matters: the everyday continual process of effecting change, & that process always starts inside each & every one of us.  As with everything, some days it will be easier than others.  And some days it will be harder.  I am grateful that I have so many friends from so many different walks of life with so many different belief systems who continually challenge me & help me to become more & more tolerant, educated, & compassionate toward the world at large.  Y’all know who you are.  And I thank you for accepting my Type A, mildly OCD (but only about some things!), high-anxiety, questionably crazy kind.