The other day I became engaged in a conversation with a close friend as to the nature of immaturity. As a fastly-approaching-middle-age male, I pride myself on my personal qualities that have allowed me to stay rather immature while, at the same time, remaining very responsible.
That seems like a incongruous dichotomy (hell’s yeah with the big damn words!), but it’s really not that hard. In becoming the adult that I developed into, I came to the realization that one of the only ways I was going to survive the day-to-day drag of going to work, earning a livable wage, paying bills, lather, rinse, repeat, et al. was by reverting in some other aspect.
Sure, I went whole hog with a bunch of aspects of my life/personality, but I have really been working over the past few months to re-figure out who I am and how I should act/be to keep myself sane while also not compromising the things that make me happy.
Basically, I’m twelve years old. I still get excited about cartoon movies, love a good fart joke and would probably eat cereal for every meal if I wasn’t on the verge of pushing forty. I love the fact that my close group of friends is basically the same way and this really helps perpetuate my “lifestyle.”
At the same time, I am a fastidious worker and take deadlines and responsibility incredibly serious.
This balance, over the past several years, has caused me much turmoil. I have a tendency to push both sides of my personality to unhealthy extremes, so I have had to work very hard recently to reign both sides in and find some sort of balance.Â I’ve screwed up personal relationships, lost perspective on a lot of the good things I had in life and spent a good amount of time in self-destructive cycles.
I’d like to say that I’m “fixed” now, but I liken my newish balance to a junkie cleaning up: the pressures and pitfalls are always around me, I just have to choose what I need to do to maintain without falling into familiar traps.
Yeah, that’s a huge downer.
That being said, I’m in a really really good place right now. I’m still not really what I would consider “grown up,” but I have more together in my life than I did a year ago.
This, I have found, seems to be the key to “growing up.” Much like everything else in life, “growing up” does not come with an instruction manual and many people, myself included, half-ass it. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing, it just is what it is. It pains me that it took some extreme situations for me to come to this realization, but I’m a better person for that. Yeah, more downer stuff.
What it all boils down to, I have recently discovered, is truly being happy with yourself. I really wasn’t good at that and lied to myself for a very long time to the contrary. People are really really good at lying to themselves.
Whatever. I now like to think that all that is behind me now. I’m sure certain aspects will rear their ugly heads here and there, but I feel I have earned the right to pat myself on the back for the progress I have made so far. At the end of the day I now go to bed thinking I have done right by myself during the previous day. That’s all that I can ask for. I’m going to continue to work my ass off everyday and make my bosses proud of the decisions they made in giving me their trust, and I’m going to go home at the end of the day and play with my friends as hard as I can and repeat that cycle every day.
“Growing up” is harder than hell: don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. To make matters harder, everyone does it differently and with different results. We do what we can to successfully navigate our lives and hope for the best. Now excuse me while I pay my bills and watch Voltron.