The Myth of Having It Together

I am twenty-seven years old.  By definition, I am a real life, fully grown, certified adult.  But if I’m being honest with you, most days, it doesn’t feel like it.  There are several reasons for this.  For one thing, I still really, really love Disney movies.  For another, I really have no idea how insurance works.  But I think the biggest obstacle standing between me and true adulthood is the ever-enduring myth of Having It Together.

I used to think I was the only person who felt this way.  But as it turns out, I think most adults out there, especially those of us in our twenties, are still trying to figure it all out.  I think there are a lot of misconceptions about adulthood, one being that adults never make mistakes.  They never get in over their heads.  They always have a solution.

This, my friends, is simply not true.

I feel like the older I get, the less I know for certain.  Maybe that’s part of growing up.  When you’re young, you think you know everything.  But as life progresses, you begin to realize just how ignorant you really are.  It’s frustrating, let me tell you.

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this, but I was a really good student in high school and in college.  Reading, studying, getting my assignments turned in on time, all that just came naturally to me.  I was top ten percent of my class, made the Dean’s List multiple times, and graduated with honors.  But that’s kind of where the “Yeah, I’ve got this life thing down” ends.  Life in school is so simple.  Life outside of school, real life, is scary and confusing and intimidating.  And I think it’s because of the belief that once you reach a certain age, you HAVE to start living a certain way.

Well, you know what?  I’m trying my best.  But I am far from perfect.  I am far from society’s idea of a “real” adult.

I’m tempted to say that the pressure put on kids and young adults to be successful and live up to certain societal standards and expectations is a huge part of why so many young people today suffer from anxiety disorders.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t encourage kids to want to succeed.  We definitely should.  But it should be for the right reasons.  It shouldn’t be because we feel like it’s what life demands of us.

This week, I made the mistake of believing that I did have it all together.  And for a while, it really seemed that I did.  The new Cemetery Tours book is almost ready to go.  I have a lot of events to look forward to.  And the new Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds book covers that I designed arrived today and they look incredible if I do say so myself.

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I have to admit, my ego was doing pretty okay.

Then life caught on and decided I needed to be kicked down a notch or two.

I was supposed to be spending this evening in Denton at the North Texas Giving Day Event representing the North Texas Book Festival.  It was only a volunteer gig, but still, I was really looking forward to it.

I was all set and ready to make the hour-long drive up to Downtown Denton.  I grabbed my camera, my purse, and a stack of business cards, and walked out the door.  Without my keys.

Y’all, I have never done that before.  I have never forgotten my keys.  Maybe it’s because I switched purses.  Maybe it’s because I had about a zillion things going through my head at once.  But for whatever reason, I was locked out of both my car and my house for well over an hour.  Thankfully, my dear friend Kat has a spare key to my house and bless her heart, she drove over to save me.  But oh my goodness.  I still cannot believe that happened.  I’m so sad that I missed the event.  And not even for something unavoidable like illness or car problems.  Nope.  I simply locked myself out.  Smart.

The point of all this is if you’re an adult and you’re thinking, “Man, why don’t have Have It Together yet?” rest assured, you are not alone.  There are a lot of us out there who are right there with you.  Or at least I am.

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8 thoughts on “The Myth of Having It Together

  1. I feel your pain. I locked my keys in my car after buying clothes. Then I put my clothes on the back of my car waiting for someone. And drove off. I definitely don’t have this adult thing down 😛

  2. Jackie, I’m 45 and still do not “have it together” and it’s not because I haven’t tried.

    In twenty years, you’ll be concentrating on just getting your happiness together and it looks like you’re on the right path. So, keep doing what you’re doing with the same gusto you have now. Concentrate on your successes like the beautiful book covers you designed and your writing – your stage of life is all about finding out who you really are and being happy with you.

  3. At twenty-one, adulthood has already, on a daily basis, begun to beat me down and leave me bloody in ditches that I have to crawl my way out of (metaphorically, of course). The one good thing about being twenty-one, though, is that nobody really expects to have your life together but once you hit twenty-two…oh boy, I’m not looking forward to it. Honestly, I think if any of us twenty-something or even people in their thirties and forties feel like they “have it together” all the time, they are seriously delusional but ignorance is bliss, I hear!

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