Daily prompt: All grown up

Elephant in the room

an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed

Yes I am adult – legally so for the past 18 years but have I ever really felt grown-up? The answer is a resounding no…

I tried to go back through my ‘landmark’ ages

18 years – wahay! I am  adult! start university

21 years – half way through my degree

24 years – finish university and start work/training programme

27 years – passed driving test

28 years – bought first flat

34 year – finish my training programme/start the ‘real’ work

At work, I am  grown-up, a professional, someone who can help others in need. I put on my badge, I wear my suit and have ‘important’ discussions with ‘important’ people. I train and teach people and feel very responsible for them.

However when I go home and have to decide important things for myself – how can I be happy, how can I make others happy without causing upset to all, the illusion of adulthood disappears. My skills of negotiation that help me in the office seem to dessert me at the front door. I can never seem to ask for what I want.

I wonder if it is an emotional dependency on certain other people.

If I go back to the parallel of work – I know what I am doing and why I am doing it. I have a very clear sense of my limitations and my strengths. I know when and how to seek help. I know when and how I can offer help. It’s not always easy, it is stressful and emotionally draining but I rise to the challenge and get on with it. In a funny sort of way – I am in control of the situation even though by the very nature of my job there is a high degree of unpredictability.

So what happens outside this arena?

Why do I revert to a child-like state?

Why do I feel I cannot do what I need to do?

Why do I feel like I need others to make decisions for me that only I should make?

I wish I knew!

I guess if I look at my list of events they are generally work related and I guess when I think about it now – although they mark my progress in the adult world they do not really speak of a parallel emotional development. Along the way their have been relationships, marriage and babies but none of which have been my own! My friends all tell me that they felt grown-up when they had children. Then there was this screaming bundle of joy that they had to take sole responsibility for.

I am having to acknowledge an area in my life that is not as great as it could be. I am realising that I am going to have to take control of the situation, to make a stand. If I do not, I guess I will only have myself to blame. I could say that I was trying to be all things to all people but I guess that is not a helpful attitude in the end. I could say I was trying to meet the demands of tradition/culture/religion but I am not sure that, that is the complete answer. I have been burying my head in the sand for a very-long time.  It is time for me to grow up.

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I should probably remember the words of this poem – first saw it when I stayed a friend’s house many years ago

Desiderata

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy

Max Ehrmann.

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