Growing Up

i started out this week on a low. i wasn’t looking forward to starting another 5 days of a grueling work schedule and being endlessly lethargic. i thought, “oh this is going to be just another week, just like the last.” for the most part, the week did turn out that way, except for a few surprises dotted throughout, such as meeting up with old friends in town and getting my latest gadget in the mail. as most people know, the real world is much different from anything you’ve really experienced. the working life changes your priorities (for most anyway), and budgeting your expenses actually starts to mean something. in the midst of juggling three projects and gym workouts and cooking dinner, all while trying to maintain some semblance of a social life and personal relaxation time, i realized how my priorities began to shift.

back in college, every day seemed to be different. this was due to the fact that i had just a bunch of hours for class scattered throughout the day, and the rest of the time was spent hanging out with friends and enjoying doing nothing of consequence. staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning was no big deal, and cranking out homework was the worst part of the day. the old adage that “school is the best time of your life — enjoy it” rings especially true upon reflection. i thought truck food was glorious and that a sunny day was a perfectly legitimate excuse to skip class.

these days, waking up at 6 is a must and getting to bed by 10 is a priority. i’m not allowed to skip work just because i feel like it (well, i could, but i’d likely get the boot in short time). there is the perk of not having homework and not being able to take work home, so that’s something positive out of it. i also enjoy getting in a workout every day or so not only to stay in shape but also to stay sharp and stress-free. making sure all my bills are paid on time and that i keep a check on my spending habits are now vital to staying afloat in a slumping economy. these days, it’s all about who’s getting the best value for money and saving or investing rather than who’s “making it rain”.

and that takes me to my next point of growing up. realizing that most of us out there wish to stay young forever, i think it’s alright to keep a bit of that college youth around. nobody wants to be a complete bore. knowing how to and when to have fun is always good by me. live a fulfilling, youthful life while you can because time only goes forward and never back. however, that being said, there must be some kind of recognition that you are growing up. a 25 year-old definitely shouldn’t be wasting away every single weekend by staying in to organize his stamp collection, but he also shouldn’t be partying ’til sunrise every single weekend either. it’s a balance of the two extremes that i think gets the most out of life.

taking to time to really do something meaningful and worthwhile is always something to pursue, though how many of us actually do it is another issue entirely. part of growing up challenges us to redirect our energies towards life experiences, but the caveat here is to not grow up too quickly. it’s all too common that today’s youth area drinking and partying in ways beyond their years, and many of these same people continue that lifestyle all throughout their twenty-something years. i’m all for having a good time, but where is the meaning in the week-in, week-out boozing? or what about staying in and gaming all night? sure, i like my video games; in fact i’m in the process of playing several right now. however, i’m not about to let them dominate my life (unless it’s some ridiculously awesome game). no, i’d much rather go out and live life. i’d rather go breathe in some fresh air and actually create memories and experiences that i’ll look back upon many years down the road and say, hey that was a pretty good time i had there.

now it’s not as if i look down upon anyone who doesn’t go out and actually DO things (in the broad sense of the term), but it just bewilders me as to how some just can’t see that growing up is not so bad. you don’t have to lock yourself into wine and cheese parties every weekend or get your kicks from corporate humor, but finding ways to create experiences is something that should be everyone’s goal. save a little money here and there, spend a little money and maybe some time on something else. making the most of growing up is really what defines the most fulfilling lives that people can lead. just think of all the great figures in history. they didn’t sit around twiddling their thumbs and live day-to-day without thinking of where they were going. they found that by pursuing something meaningful and embracing and taking every opportunity for the right reasons, they could push the boundaries of who they were and achieve great things. and that’s what i believe it means to grow up, and i hope to someday get there.


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