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Adulting Sucks Even When You Are Over 50
February 18, 2022 – The Fifty-Third Official Friday Night BeerBlog
Is “Adulting” even a word or one that we’ve just strapped our 20 somethings to be doing as they begin to spread their wings on all fronts? No, it is a real word according to Dicionary.com. It is the Verb form of the word adult. As in, I made my own dentist appointment, I must be “adulting”.
Adulting is a heady thing for a human that has been nothing but taken care of their whole lives. And as parents we are so ready to pass on responsibilities to a grown person who is able to do certain things for themselves now. I mean, if they are old enough to have sex, they are old enough to make sure they pay their credit card on time. Right?
You would think at some point you would complete the course and get your degree in adulting, but it isn’t true. We are always learning new lessons in adulting. There is always going to be a new situation or dilemma that requires all of our adulting skills to get through.
On The New Old You this week I had Karen Osborne on. She is the host of the “Living in the Sandwich Zone” podcast. We talked about the very real situation of being in that sandwich zone. If you aren’t familiar with it, the sandwich zone, or the sandwich generation, is where you have kids below and aging parents above. You have survived most of your career building years. May have gotten married and navigated living with someone outside your family for years. Possibly even given birth to children and made sure that they lived through their childhood and teenage years. And even helped said children prepare to leave their nest to spread their wings.
You may think that your adulting is done. That you exceeded all expectations. You throw your hands in the air and declare that you are done and that you passed. Well, no. You passed the FIRST and SECOND phases of adulting. Nobody told you, but now you have entered a new phase and you are back at the start. It’s a very crucial, serious phase. It time to build on all of those beginning and intermediate adulting lessons you’ve learned. Making and keeping a dentist appointment? Getting a toddler to sleep? Kids stuff.
As we get into our midlife years, just when we start to think that it’s our turn, we become the meat in the generational sandwich. Our kids, try as they may, could be struggling with their own entry level adulting. Some may need help on several levels. It’s okay. It’s not that we failed at teaching them adulting, they just need extra support. And giving this extra support can sometimes be overwhelming and/or expensive. There was always this possibility and we’re good with that. It’s good to be needed, right? But don’t push too hard or you may lose them forever.
But then our parents, who we have always looked to for support ourselves, begin to lose their own adulting functions. They may get sick, injured, or begin to forget things. Maybe it’s time for them to give up their car keys and you are the one that has to tell them. Conversations need to be had about their wishes and plans now while they can tell you what they are. And more than likely, they don’t realize that now is the time and you are the one that has to bring it up.
It’s a time in adulting where you have to tread lightly on those below and those above – all while not injuring or forgetting yourself in the process. In fact it’s more important than ever to be taking care of yourself, too. Adulting in midlife, I think most will agree, is actually the hardest phase to go through. We aren’t oblivious to having to go through it – we know it’s coming, but suddenly it’s there. And nobody gave you the book on how to deal with it.
Note: I’m sorry to tell you that the book or playbook on “Adulting in Midlife” doesn’t exist. Every life and the challenges it faces is different. But there are clues to things, and advice, and other people that can support you. Don’t try to do it alone. Seek out support and seek out to support. And always, always, bring your compassion.
Adulting can really suck sometimes. Not all the time, but definitely sometimes. Find the bright spots and enjoy them because the dark spots will be dark. But we’ve got this and each other. Good luck you adults. Go forth and kick some ass.
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