I was lying in a hammock on the California coast last week and I was thinking about the benefits of being a "grown up".
When I asked other people around me I heard familiar things like eating all the ice cream you want, going to bed whenever you want, having pizza for breakfast, etc. But at the same time I also heard very different things like having your own money, owning nice things, raising a family, building a home, traveling where you want and more.
The different answers echoed the thoughts in my own head and the answer immediately became clear to me.
Sometimes the best part of being a grown up is actually just that: being an adult. It’s the personal and financial success that comes from maturity, the freedom of adulthood, the respect you get from your peers and the joy of working hard to play hard.
But sometimes the best part of being an adult is the exact opposite – it’s the freedom to still act like a kid whenever you want, to go against the grain, to quit your job and take that road trip and figure it all out when you get back, to follow your dreams and take the kind of chances you know would get you a lecture on responsibility from your parents. Sometimes you just gotta let loose and live.
What’s the best part of being a grown up? It’s being able to choose when you want to grow up and when you don’t.
It’s a choice that ultimately defines us and it’s a balance. Focus too much on being a ‘responsible adult’ and you’ll find yourself missing out on many of the joys in life while you’re young enough to enjoy them. Focus too much on being a carefree kid and there will likely be a wake-up call when your priorities shift.
Things obviously change once you have a family and children of your own. You may find yourself feeling like you have no choice but to be a grown up all the time and that the balance is decided for you. It isn’t true. You’re busier, you have more on your plate and more responsibility than ever before in life, but you’re still you and you still have the freedom to dream and to follow your dreams. You might just have a few more people along for the ride and a few more detours to make on the way there.
Life moves fast. Take a moment soon to be a carefree kid again - do something risky, let your responsibilities pile up a bit, they'll still be there when you get back to them and you'll be ready to take them on. If you’ve been finding yourself being a little too much of a kid lately, do something positive that moves you forward and sets the stage for the success and happiness you want in life.
And if nothing else, take a moment to put everything on hold and just relax in your hammock for a bit. You’re an adult and you can do what you want.