I’m tempted to keep this car in drive…

I’ve come to the conclusion that adulthood is a lonely process. At least, it can be. There’s the loneliness of being single, (although I would argue that you have more time with friends than if you were married), there’s the loneliness of being on your own, and the loneliness of working. As a child, there was always someone to go to if you were having a problem. There was the teacher, or your parents, or for me, my grandmother. I could spend hours crying my heart out, and there was someone to love me. When I got to college, it became a little lonelier. Sure, there are people in every room, and many were there to lend a sympathetic ear or a helping hand, but the intimate connection between the two was less concrete. With every year, the amount of people who are willing to genuinely care about you diminish.

I’m not claiming this is bad. I’m also not claiming that I’m so incredibly lonely myself. But, there are substantial moments of loneliness.

I have a friend who wishes she had a significant other. I understand the loneliness of that. Coming home to an apartment by yourself, cooking for one, and sleeping alone. I believe the worst part is having to bear the responsibility of being an adult all by yourself. Why? Because being an adult is a hard and lonely process. It seems like just yesterday you were relying on the love and support of others, and now you’re expected to change roles for the next generation. You want to scream, “Hey! Stop! I wasn’t quite finished yet!” I think I’ve held on a little longer than some others because I didn’t adequately receive that as a child. Due to my premature adulthood, I long for the support and love of others.

You think that being married will solve the loneliness of being single. Bad assumption to make. I believe that you become even lonelier. The people you used to be able to rely on… that responsibility has now been passed on to your spouse. You’re expected to share with your spouse, and no one else (besides God, you know what I mean). You dare not air out any dirty laundry. So, if you’re angry or hurt, you can’t talk about it. You can’t talk to your mother, because you don’t want your spouse to get a bad image, and you can’t talk to anyone else for fear of the same response. I realize it’s meant to be this way. This way, you get to work it out with your spouse. It is supposed to create a bond between the two of you.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t get lonely.

There are simply days when you have no one to talk to. Your spouse doesn’t understand, no matter how much you try. The matter is too personal to discuss with anyone else, and you hold it in. You get tired of looking foolish, trying to explain something that gets blown out of proportion. Marriage also brings to light all your failures. You realize how much you don’t do for the other. You realize that you aren’t perfect. There will be the days when you hear, “Why don’t you do this anymore?” or “What’s wrong with you?” People won’t tell you this. People who are married will simply say how wonderful marriage is, or how wonderful adulthood is.

What truly is adulthood? Adulthood is paying off student loans, and trying to get out of debt. It’s driving a crappy car and crying every month because you’re not sure if you’re going to make it financially. Adulthood is about getting it all together, and trying to stay afloat. It’s dealing with jerks along with the wonderful people. Adulthood is about finally having all the freedoms that you’ve always dreamed about, and not having the money to do anything. It’s about being lonely somedays, watching reruns on TV, and trying to get that new 10 pounds off your hips.

But it’s also about sleeping in some Saturdays, and playing with that new baby. It’s about inviting friends over and celebrating life. It’s about the good moments in marriage. It’s about the coffee being made for you when you wake up. It’s about the “ah ha” factor at work. There are good mixed in with the bad.  Life’s much messier than death.

Adulthood is infinitely more complicated than could be explained in words.  Even now, I don’t do it justice.


5 responses to this post.

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tim Ramsey


  2. To me, adulthood is the process of learning about, and maybe even accepting, yourself. Lonliness plays an important part in this process. I’d like to think that someday the person I go to when I have a problem could be *me* (not that it has to be me. I just like the idea of having the option).


  3. Posted by joharp on March 27, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    I see what you did there. Hidden JM reference.

    Anyways, I know what you mean about premature adulthood. It isn’t fair. While we were planning the rest of our lives (or at least college and beyond) our friends were allowed to only worry about the minor things in life. But I see this as a blessing. We are able to not let the little things get us down. We had to strive to make sure we could get an education on our own merit. And our jobs were not just handed down to us because we know someone. We might be ‘single’ adults, but I see that as just saying we are independent. I might be a lonely adult, but I am strong and independent, and damn proud of it.


  4. Wow. You said it joharp!


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