Today a friend posted a status update on FB about wanting to visit family, but having to stay in town to be a grown up.
Someone she knows made this comment: "How is staying in Idaho being a grownup. Being a grownup typically means doing what you want to do after making sure you have your ducks in a row."
I also made a comment, and although I was somewhat replying to the person above, I did not tag them. I said, "I know it's hard not to see them! I'm sure what you mean is that your family is close, and that should mean that you're able to visit them a lot, but sometimes responsibilities and other duties get in the way of that. Being a grown up and realizing that you have to sacrifice things that you want to do for things that you're supposed to do does stink sometimes. But we hope that it's for a good reason and lots of blessings :) You're a good example to me!"
Basically I wanted to say, BEING A GROWN UP IS HARD, but sometimes people don't appreciate the details. People can say, "that sucks!" and "boo!" at being a grown up being all day long, but there should be an understanding that this person trying to make real life adult decisions is much harder than it looks, and they should be praised for that!
Even WITH all your ducks in a row, it often does not typically mean "doing what you want."
Being a grown up means budgeting your money and realizing that some weeks at the grocery store are a decision between toilet paper and milk. (I've been there many times. You have to decide between what you need, and what you need MORE.)
Being a grown up means making the right decisions, even when they're not the popular ones.
Being a grown up means that sometimes you have to protect your family, even when people hate you for it.
And yes, being a grown up means that sometimes you have to forgo driving a few hours to visit your family because you just can't afford the gas, or you can't take time off work, or because you have responsibilities (church, or school, or otherwise).
I hope that we can teach our children to have realistic expectations of adulthood. It is not always negative. Many times it is GREAT! But it is not me getting my way all the time and doing whatever I want.
When I was younger I thought that I would be able to drive wherever I wanted, go wherever I wanted, EAT whatever I wanted, and have endless amounts of money for toys.
But now I'm torn between what I want and what I need and sometimes what I know is better for me. There are many times at the grocery store where I drool over certain foods or desserts, but put them back because I want to eat healthy and set good examples for my children, and also not spend needlessly. Sometimes I want to drive somewhere, but I bike with the kids instead because I know that we need to save the gas money and the mileage on the car.
Are there trade-offs for these decisions? Definitely. Sometimes I give up taste-bud happiness, but I gain self-control and joy for knowing that I overcame a tiny temptation and am eating the way that makes my body feel good and work at its best. Sometimes the kids and I share a nice day outside biking around for an hour, and I get some exercise, and we all enjoy it, instead of being stuck in the car while we rush to run errands. Sometimes I give up my fierce pride and independence to ask for help and realize that I can't do it all on my own, and that gives me love for my neighbor, and better perspective and empathy. Sometimes I cut friendships out of my life, even though I want to be around these people SO much! Because I know that in the end some influences are better than others on my mind and heart, and that my family and marriage is worth protecting more than anything else. Sometimes we sell a second car, move out of a home we love, help people even when it is a big sacrifice of money, time, and sanity, or give away furniture that we really like, or clothes that we haven't worn in a while (but are super pretty!) because we know deep down that we don't NEED those things, and being a grown up means making hard, serious, soul-searching decisions that will have better long term effects than short term triumphs.
Being a grown up means being strong. It means giving up the sometimes good for the better, and ultimately the best. It means coming clean, owning up to our mistakes, and showing people that we are genuine. It means that sometimes people won't like what you say, they will take things out of context and think you're a hypocrite, but you say it anyway, because it is important, and we're all human, and we all have to exist together.
Being a grown up means buckling down to change habits.
Being a grown up means striving for your best self.
Being a grown up is hard.
But as we refine ourselves and find the deeper conviction within us to be kinder, more honest, more clean, and solidly awesome--it is worth it.