Being a Better Adult One Baby Step at a Time

I’ve experienced two wake-up calls recently.

The first was the unavoidable and somewhat shocking realization that I am an adult. You would think at the ripe age of 34, I would have been smacked by this fact a bit sooner, but I wasn’t. Somehow, I was able to sustain a blissful state of youthful ignorance for most of my life. But eventually, that son of a bitch named Reality will come stampeding up behind you and sling his lasso around your throat, yanking you from your proverbial hobby horse. It may be a relatively short fall to earth, but man does it sting.

Campbell County Annual Reality Wrangle, 2014.

Campbell County Annual Reality Wrangle, 2014.

But, as bad as wake-up call number one hurt, the second left an even bigger bruise:

I totally and completely SUCK at being an adult. Really and truly friends, I am not good at this shit AT ALL.

When it came to being a child, I freaking crushed it. Not to brag, but if I were ever going to have a kid, I would want to have myself. I was awesome. I shared my toys, rarely ever pitched any kind of fit; I was friendly and happy. I hit all my milestones ahead of schedule, I was smart and followed the rules. In summary, I was a dang delight. So what the hell happened?

My theory – adulthood snuck into my life like a thief in the night. It did not announce itself and it refused to make its presence known. Pretty jerk move, if you ask me. How am I supposed to win this game when I didn’t even know we started playing? Ironically, adulthood is kind of like that bratty kid we all played hide and seek with at least once in our younger years. The one who tells you to hide while he counts to 100, but only counts to 15 and acts like a damn playground champion when he grabs your shoulder proclaiming, “Got ya!” Big whoop, adulthood. You’re a shitty winner, I’m an equally lousy loser, and you don’t play fair.

“1, 2, 8, 59, 100. Ready or not, I’m coming for you, sucker!"

“1, 2, 8, 59, 100. Ready or not, I’m coming for you, sucker!”

Needless to say, these two startling revelations were the source of some serious lamenting. I talked to Red about my conundrum, and although he reassured me that in his eyes I was perfect, I knew beyond all reasonable doubt I was in dire need of self-improvement. For my age, I’m slightly too irresponsible. I seldom make plans; I don’t set goals as often as I should. I sometimes act without thinking things all the way through, I’m neurotic and I have a host of crappy habits. In short, when it comes to being  an adult, I’m kind of a dimwit.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think it’s wonderful to carry a healthy level of child-like exuberance into your mature years. But there is no dignity in being the sort of grown-up who can’t grasp a basic understanding of a 401K and can’t manage to ever muster the ambition required to fold and hang clean laundry in any sort of organized fashion.

But there are so many changes to tackle that as I continued soul-searching with Red, I became seriously overwhelmed. In my fledgling quest to become a better version of myself, the to-do list was rapidly growing, stretching longer than the coupon laden receipts you get at the grocery store.


And then the solution for which I was fervently searching illuminated my mind, like a light bulb being switched to the on position directly above my head.

Maybe, in order to be a better adult, one might be best served starting with baby steps.

As ironic as this logic may sound, I felt good about this idea and got started right away. I made a plan to begin chipping away at 5 specific goals. (See? I’m already planning and setting goals! Check two adulty things off my list.) While I won’t share each of these itsy bitsy improvements with you, I will divulge the first and most frivolous one, mainly because I’m kicking ass at it, and it’s quite appropriate for the theme of this post.

babystep1Goal #1 = To finally stop biting my damn nails.

Seriously, it’s about time I got around to breaking this terrible and super-embarrassing habit. In my defense, however, I’m pretty sure I used my teeny tiny nails in place of teething rings, so I’ve been at this a while. Whether you chew tobacco or chew on finger tips, even gross habits are difficult to discontinue when they’ve been a part of your routine for so many years. However, I’ve been off the nail-noshing for 24 days now, and my fingers are already looking less like those of a nasty nine year old and more like those of a lady. Therefore, I am tentatively putting this one in the WIN column.

Screw your maturity. I have you on my sites and I’m toddling my child-like little ass straight towards you at lightning speed. As I mentioned earlier, I kicked booty at reaching milestones in my youth, and this time shall be no different. You may have got a head-start, but I’m a fast learner.

I’m coming for you adulthood, one baby step at a time.