Being An Adult Is Mandatory. Growing Up Isn’t.

Elderly lady throwing up the devil horns

So it struck me the other day that even though I’m technically now an adult, I don’t feel like I’m growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve grown up from my teenage years, but I still feel like I’m in my early 20’s even though I’m bordering 30. The Daily Post is Mind the Gap, I felt it would be a good topic to attempt to cover.

After thinking about this for the past few days, I’ve realised there’s a vast difference between growing up and being an adult. When I was younger I used to think being an adult and growing up went hand in hand. You go to school, then college and uni and then get a job. At some point on this journey you find the love of your life, get married and have kids, et voilà – You’re a fully fledged, grown-up adult!

Boy, was I wrong.

There’s a distinct difference between being an adult and growing up. Being an adult is mandatory. Being an adult means that you have responsibility thrust upon you. You’re in charge of your life. You’re in charge of your budget, your diet, your well-being, your entire existence. On top of that, if you have kids, you can multiply that responsibility over and over.

Growing up, however, is your own choice. To a degree, you do get to choose the rate at which you grow up. When you think about, it’s a huge responsibility. At the end of the day, growing up is quite simply a mindset. Once you reach a certain age, I feel like you just completely slow down, if not stop. Think about it. Do you feel any more grown up now than you did 5 years ago? I know I don’t.

It’s the Peter Pan syndrome and now that I have kids of my own, I don’t ever want to grow up. Sure I won’t be able to shake the responsibilities of being an adult, but why should that mean I have to change who I am at my core? To put it simply, being an adult often conflicts with you not growing up.

For example, I’ve struggled over the past few months, possibly even years with my mental health. As much as I’m an advocate of men speaking about how they’re feeling, I still haven’t managed to do so myself. It’s only recently that I’ve admitted this to myself. After struggling with stress since my son fractured his skull & wife miscarried in the same week, I fear I may be bordering high-functioning depression. This is something that no amount of growing up can prevent. This is being an adult.

A few weeks ago I snapped at my kids and shouted at them for not listening (in retrospect, they weren’t being that bad). I scared my eldest boy to the point where he cried. When trying to comfort him he told me “I love mummy more. I need her cuddles”. He has also asked why I get so angry all the time. I try my best to stay calm, but it’s killing me that it may be affecting them. I’m hoping getting this down in words will be the release I need to help prevent outbursts like this from happening again.

I’ll be honest. When I started writing this post, all I had was a working title of “Adulting is Mandatory; Growing up isn’t”, however this post seems to have evolved in to something much more than that. It seems to have turned into a self-realisation that there’s no escaping being an adult. No matter what you try, being an adult will always have to be at the forefront, especially if there are others relying on you. However you can control the journey with how much growing up you’ve done.

You control this ride, no-one else does. Don’t grow up too quickly as being an adult is hard. You’ll need the familiarities of not growing up to use as a coping mechanism. If you feel like you’re getting older, but not growing up, then that’s fine. This helps form who you are, who your kids are & how your relationships shape up and grow.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on growing up and being an adult. Feel free to comment below or contact me on Twitter. Please also take the time to share this post with your friends and followers!

Thanks for taking the time to read if you made it this far 🙂

Mike x

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