Adulting is hard. Working 9-5, paying bills, cooking meals, doing housework, keeping up with routine car maintenance, speaking to customer service representatives… are just some of the [painfully] annoying chores “responsible” adults have to do. We’re expected to have our shit together. But what exactly does that mean? I hear so many people complain or berate themselves because they don’t have their life together. I want to scream every time I hear it. Not because I’m upset with the person for saying it, but because I’m upset with a culture that causes people to feel this way.
Apparently having your shit together means you have a good job, you pay your bills on time, you live in a nice place, you have friends, you’re in a thriving romantic relationship, you’re generally healthy and well-adjusted, you make your parents proud, you’re happy and pleasant to be around. People look at you and think, “damn, that person’s doing alright.” Well I call bull crap on all of that. Life is messy. Relationships are hard. Money matters are stressful. Cake and chips taste good. And it makes no difference what anyone else thinks!
Someone with a great job, lots of money, and a loving partner may seem to have it all, but quite often they’re struggling inside. Someone with little money, no stable home, or no significant other may seem to be a “loser,” but they’re surprisingly happier than you’ve ever been. So tell me again–what does it mean to have your shit together?! It means doing the best you can. It means showing up every day for yourself in whatever way feels good to you. It means accepting things as they are and trusting that change is inevitable.
This is far easier said than done. There is a lot of money in misery. Businesses thrive on sick, vulnerable, insecure, unhappy people. We receive a constant barrage of messages that tell us how inadequate we are. From car commercials, to weight loss programs, to fake glimpses of other people’s lives on social media, there is someone behind the scenes profiting off our sense of longing. Stop the madness! Get out while you can!
Live each moment as it comes. Be fully present in the present. If you feel unhappy or discontent, ask yourself why. Is it because of an external factor that you have no control over? Then let it go and soldier on. Is there something you can do, some change or shift you can make to feel better? Sometimes this is simply changing how you think about something. Sometimes it’s simply acknowledging your blessings and focusing on gratitude. Sometimes it’s taking a huge and terrifying leap of faith. Sometimes it’s turning off a device and heading outside! Listen to your intuition. Trust your gut. Tune out the cacophony of negativity disguised as support, fear disguised as concern, judgment disguised as motivation, oppression disguised as privilege. Spend time doing things that make you happy. Spend time with people who make you feel good. If you live this way in each moment, then each moment becomes your life. And it will be a happy life.
What is a better indicator of having it all together then being happy?
You are doing awesome! You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be–regardless of where that is. Create your own definition of success. Live it fully and completely. That’s all there is to it. Anything else is straight up bullshit*.
*my sincere apologies to anyone offended by my language. Part of adulting for me is swearing. I censor myself when I need to, and as a general rule of kindness do not fling cuss words at others (except maybe while driving, when they can’t hear me anyway) but I certainly don’t wish to offend.
Adina Arden Cooper
I'm a healer, a guide, a supportive companion. A storyteller, an artist, an ally and an advocate. I help individuals thrive and communities come together through counseling, coaching, and community building. I believe that shared humanity is a powerful strength and that our stories connect us in beautiful and sacred ways. As I stumble, skip, or soar my way through this life, I invite you to join me on the journey. Likewise, I'm honored to travel with you. In witnessing one another, we find meaning.