You’d think that by the time we reach middle age, we’d know how this whole life thing works, but life’s like, well, life. . . it’s fluid, ever-changing, and always challenging us. Nobody tells you what adulthood is really like. I mean, I was led to believe that it would mostly be eating whatever I felt like for breakfast and staying up as late as I wanted. But no. Turns out, there’s a lot more about being grown up that’s a challenge.
You have to get a job that pays enough to afford you whatever lifestyle you want, you have to repair stuff, you have to get places on time, and clean up after yourself. You’re expected to be “mature”, but mature seems stuffy and restrictive.
You have to make big choices about whether you’d like to get married, or have babies, and even then it’s never easy. Sometimes you can’t marry the one you love, but sometimes you do, and it all falls apart. Nobody seems to know what “happily ever after” looks like, unless it’s just cheery social media status updates and selfies.
Sometimes you can’t make babies, but sometimes you do and there are scary challenges, and nothing comes with a manual and nobody wants to share their secrets to success because nobody is actually successful.
Just when you’ve got things under control, along comes life with a new challenge.
As it happens, you really do have to care for your body, because aging is inevitable if you’re lucky, and before you realize it, you’re contemplating strange things in the mirror, pulling your hairline back and counting age spots on the backs of your hands.
Sometimes you can’t have the stuff you want no matter how hard you work, and you realize everything they told you just might have been a lie: you can work your ass off, but there are no guarantees.
You are acutely aware of the world around you, and oh my god, it’s awful out there sometimes. So we put our heads down, bury ourselves in our own lives and hope for the best.
Everyone else seems to be doing it better. They’re all so together, and happy, and fulfilled, and here we are, wearing pyjamas to the grocery store because we forgot to buy milk again and our jeans don’t fit anymore anyhow.
Listen, I’m no expert, but I know a few things. I know that the hardest things we go through will strengthen us, because I’ve been there, too. I know that I am responsible for my own happiness, but that I’ve made choices in my life that mean I can’t always come first.
I know that relationships of all kinds are hard, but they’re all we’ve got as human beings, and it’s only worth keeping the good ones. Say goodbye to the enablers, the cheerleaders of your doom. Say goodbye to the ones who use you as a sideshow. Say goodbye to the users.
I don’t know why we waste so much of our time, refusing to learn lessons from others who’ve travelled these roads.
But I know that I’ll hold your pieces together when you need me, if you promise to hold mine when I crumble.
Cuz really, we’re all we’ve got.