(day -3): what does it mean to be an adult?

Does life really get in the way of our dreams? Deconstructing that myth and adopting a new perspective ...

(day -3): what does it mean to be an adult?
life blooming / Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

Today was a day of being an adult.

KrA fell ill last night, yet he woke up this morning to make breakfast and prep D's lunchbox. Then I took D for his physiotherapist appointment for his leg saga, then dropped him off at school, did some grocery shopping, stopped by to chat with a neighbour who has sold her home and is leaving (she has already left by the time I write this), did the laundry, had a little nap, went to pick up D from school as well as takeout food on the way back home, gave little D a shower (a joyful experience I have not indulged in in far too long as it's usually KrA who does this), had dinner, loaded the dishwasher, then folded all the laundered clothes, and now I'm here, writing this, while waiting for D to finish reading the book he's engrossed in and go to bed.

What an ordinary day!

What a joyful day!

Back here now that D is in bed, having fallen asleep after talking about what made him grateful today (his answer was me and KrA), and the sun has slipped beneath the western horizon, smearing the sky a watercolour orange.

This is my favourite part of the day, being able to come here and write. Some thoughts. Some musings. A recollection of the day gone by, and lessons learnt.

Today, as I was attending to the calls of life, I was reminded of all the times 'life got in the way' and I couldn't write.

And I wondered why we say 'life got in the way' when all the things we do on a daily or near-daily basis, such as cooking, eating, caring for a child and/or a partner, buying groceries, doing the dishes or the laundry, are essential activities for living.

Why do we treat them as chores, as inconveniences, when these are the activities that ensure our basic needs are met? That we have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a clean, comfortable home to live in?

I've often heard of writers or any other passionate creators who say they are OK with messy homes or with a sinkful of dirty dishes. With a child at home, I find it impossible to let my home go to seed while I sit in my room, door closed to the rest of the world, and write.

That's the dream, sure, but ah, life gets in the way!

This is hilarious.

I have great ambition and a strong desire to write many, many stories. At the same time, I love spending a lot of time with D and being around for him and KrA.

I don't want to approach my writing with a frenetic, aggressive kind of energy, one that resents the existence of a home and a family to look after. Both – my writing and my family – are intrinsic, invaluable parts of my life, and I make space in my days, each day, for both.

This has often been a challenge for me, I will admit. Especially when I have writing plans for the day and something happens, such as D or KrA falling ill, that compels me to change my plans, I can't help but feel resentful.

And I think, more than getting down to what needs to be done in that moment, it's the resentment and my internal fight against it that weighs me down tremendously and takes up way too much mental space and energy.

I've often noticed that on days when I get through the errands or whatever the day demands of me cheerfully, with an 'All this is part of life and I've got this' attitude rather than a 'Why does life always get in the way of my writing?' attitude of misery and torment, more often than not I have plenty of energy and enthusiasm to get to the writing desk in the evening after everyone has gone to bed.

I suppose this is what it means to be an adult. To do what the day demands of us, without complaint or resentment, and trust that all of what life throws at us is fuel and fodder for the dreams we're chasing, not impediments.

In the run-up to the writing challenge I have now officially signed up for, I've gotten into the habit of blogging  every evening about my day and whatever learnings I may have gleaned from it. This is turning out to be an excellent exercise in self-awareness and, consequently, self-improvement.

I'm showing up in day-to-day life as the kind of person I want to be, as the kind of person I know I inherently am – kind, generous, courageous, capable – when I am not seized by anxieties and insecurities.

How much of this is turning out to be a mind game! How much of life is turning out to be a mind game!

When I am in a good frame of mind, not getting hijacked by worries and anxieties, which in turn are merely constructs of my very imaginative mind, I find myself capable of handling whatever the day sends my way.

On the contrary, even a beautiful day can be easily ruined when I'm caught in mental spirals of fear and worry, not to mention all the time and energy that is squandered in these imaginings.

I've observed this over and over again, yet I haven't found the silver bullet, that mantra or specific action that will propel me into action when my fear-mind is screaming at its loudest.

Reckon I'll figure that out over the next nine months, the reminder that I need to focus on the task at hand, instead of squandering the present moment at the altar of the past and the future, both utterly imaginary constructs at this point in time.