A year ago, I became aware of one uncomfortable part of adult life. I thought it could have been the abundance of dishes I now wash on a weekly basis, but I came to the conclusion that dishes will never go away.
The uncomfortable part for me was that the years were blending together to the point where I couldn’t remember when things happened. When I was in school, each year registered in my memory bank with distinct achievements that brought me feelings of comfort.
- I learned about sharing in my kindergarden class. My friend Chris and I played with Hot Wheels race cars during snack time. We worked together to build a loop ramp and shared the box of 60 cars to see which ones could make it around the loop.
- In 5th grade, I learned how to skateboard. My friend Nick and I made jumps out of plywood and took turns going off them seeing who could get higher or land a better move.
- I learned how to drive during my sophomore year. When I got my license, I drove around town with my friend Brian for no better reason than to pass the time listening to country music.
These memories brought meaning to each passing year, because they helped prove my learning and development.
Last week, I had a major breakthrough. I realized I have learned three important lessons in each of the three years I have been out of school that bring back the comfortable feelings I got as a student. I am going to share them with you today as things I wish I’d known before entering adulthood.
Year 1: Create Boundaries for Yourself
In the first 12 months of work, I rarely shut my work brain off. As a result, I was not totally present during time with family and friends. I remember times when I was with friends and family but really thinking about work instead, which took a toll on relationships over time.
I didn’t set boundaries with myself. Today I set boundaries. I work hard and do everything to the best of my ability. I work late at times but not repeatedly, and I make sure to turn my work brain off when it should be.
Year 2: Don’t Run from Anxiety, Face It
To me, anxiety feels like I am standing outside in the freezing cold in a t-shirt and shorts.
- I can’t really feel anything in my body.
- My breathes are shallow.
- I don’t answer questions as best I can.
Anxiety has always been there. I remember feeling it in high school during classes where participation was graded, or when I had an intimidating teacher.
As an adult, I am much more aware of it. I am starting to find my own ways to work at it – writing being one of them.
Year 3: Develop Confidence to Survive Adulthood
One way to survive adulthood is to develop confidence. Recently, my anxiety dipped while confidence increased. I feel more clear-headed and in the moment. I am basically back in kindergarten class playing with race cars!