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Thread: Beyond adulthood

  1. #1
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    Beyond adulthood

    I want to begin this post by saying that I am happy to report that all of the things I was worried about in my previous posts turned out alright. I am happy with my job in marketing, I have finished my masters, my creativity has returned to me, and I have numerous opportunities to do things with friends again. That last part I was MOST worried about, because I figured that I had to leave that behind in high school and college. I am happy to report now that I am as busy now with experiences with friends as I was back then. I honestly thought I'd never have that again.

    So with that said, I've really been able to reflect on something. It seems like a lot of the things I was worried about came from the drastic change felt with the end of college. I think throughout high school and college, I was able to enjoy hobbies and experiences more because I saw them all within the context of a greater picture, moving forward from grade to grade, and then moving forward to my degree. I know this is an age old question that probably has been answered before elsewhere in this forum, but I must ask if that is something you ever feel again?

    Every article I read on this says things along the lines of "well obviously you need to find another goal." Obviously? I didn't realize it was that simple. And even still, how do you find a goal?

    I mean, do I just continue to plan events and vacations and look to those as the goal? Do I attempt to go for another degree or another promotion? Do I move to another city and do something completely different? And even still, once all of those things are done, do I just make up another goal after that? Maybe this isn't that complicated, but for whatever reason, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    But all things said, I will admit I don't feel like I'm quite in the limbo I was stuck in from 23 to about 27. That was a very strange period of time where I had no idea where I was at or where I was going. I guess one of these days I could try and find a partner and move toward marriage, but that sounds equally fleeting. What do we do after that?

    I know a lot of people are going to tell me to live in the moment, but I can promise you I am. I'm just hoping for something to contextualize the moment around, like the moment is a chapter in a greater mission I'm moving toward. Regardless, I can say that I'm much happier now. I'm just looking to answer this question as a cherry on top.

    You don't have to look for creativity when your life feels like a book.

  2. #2
    Gold Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    You'll have new feelings throughout your lifetime.

    You don't always need new goals if you're satisfied where you are with your job and education finished. Even though a lot of people will tell you to live in the moment, you should enjoy the moment. Allow life's experiences to evolve as you live it.

    New people will continue to be introduced in your life. Some are keepers whereas others drift away due to lack of interest and not caring to get to know some people which is perfectly ok.

    Congratulations on being much happier now. This is great news.

    If your life feels like a book, creativity is something to look forward to if you wish to pursue this route. Or, just remain content and comfortable with status quo.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Beyond adulthood? Some adults never really reach adulthood. You'll define what adulthood means to you and the type of man you want to be.

    There's an art in maintaining happiness and stability in your life. You'll also develop your own opinions on other things and fine-tune your lifestyle. You may add and subtract various items and people in it. I'm sensing you're also looking for a deeper purpose. That's something only you can find and adhere to. You're not given that on a silver platter, I'm afraid, so don't expect the answers to come to you overnight or for someone to provide those answers for you. Do the homework, stay curious and keep learning. Find your purpose. You might surprise yourself and who knows...maybe nurture more than one.

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    Originally Posted by Cherylyn
    Even though a lot of people will tell you to live in the moment, you should enjoy the moment.

    I don't think I completely follow this part. Could you elaborate?

    Sorry, sometimes I struggle to follow things that are actually really straightforward.

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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    Do the homework.
    You know, throughout high school, college, and graduate school, I did everything I could to avoid doing homework lol

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    Great to hear that you are doing well!

    I find that the more we experience things (especially difficult matters) we grow. We are a work in progress. Progress, however, is only possible when you are working towards something. Stagnation kills us.

    That is why I find that moving towards a long-term goal gives us something to focus on. We may not conquer that long-term goal and instead find a more interesting detour, but throughout that journey we develop and become stronger.

    What would you like to experience that you haven't yet? How would you like to impact others? It can be anything from eradicating poverty, learning a new language, building your own international brand to writing 10 novels. Be as crazy or down to earth as you want.
    Last edited by greendots; 07-17-2019 at 11:11 PM.

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    Originally Posted by greendots
    Great to hear that you are doing well!

    I find that the more we experience things (especially difficult matters) we grow. We are a work in progress. Progress, however, is only possible when you are working towards something. Stagnation kills us.

    That is why I find that moving towards a long-term goal gives us something to focus on. We may not conquer that long-term goal and instead find a more interesting detour, but throughout that journey we develop and become stronger.

    What would you like to experience that you haven't yet? How would you like to impact others? It can be anything from eradicating poverty, learning a new language, building your own international brand to writing 10 novels. Be as crazy or down to earth as you want.
    I hear where you are coming from with the differentiation between long-term and the detours. Detour is the perfect word for it. Maybe I just played too many video games growing up, but I really do look at life a lot like a video game. I feel like I'm on a lot of side quests at the moment and I'm looking to get back toward the main quest, whatever that may happen to be.

    I like your suggestions. I definitely intend to try my hand at writing, even if it can never be published, I have way too much to say before I die.

    Now that I have active friendships again, I am currently talking with a few friends about trying to record music and play local shows. There are a lot of creative endeavors I would like to accomplish. I'm also looking forward to traveling for the first time this coming August.

    But now that I'm actually talking about it, I guess what I'm looking for is whatever the main focus in my life could possibly be. I very much enjoy my job right now because the amount of responsibility is low and the pay is very good for such a position, but I think I desire something more. If this is my career and my main focus in life, I think I need something that would yield more of an accomplishment than just the paycheck.

    I don't know, the more I talk the more I think I should try and go for the promotion

  9. #8
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GreenGoose22
    But now that I'm actually talking about it, I guess what I'm looking for is whatever the main focus in my life could possibly be.
    This is what I hear rumbling beneath the surface. Plenty common. I think most people spend their lives wondering what the purpose, or main focus, is. My feeling is that it's always coming in and out of focus, changing shapes, and the more comfortable you can get with that idea the more you can settle into whatever it is that's right in front of you without worrying about what it's adding up to.

    Without that worry, more often than not, the thing in front of you starts to expand, deepen, and come into focus. It becomes the "purpose," for a while, until it doesn't.

    From your original post, it sounds like you're kind of struggling to find meaning—or a structure that provides the illusion of meaning. As you put it, we spend our earlier years in a tightly structured world where little shots of meaning are given to us constantly. We "graduate" elementary school, we have winter and summer breaks, we're building toward middle school, high school, college—everything marked in quarters, with pats on the back for basically doing nothing.

    Then you're out there in the world, actually doing things, but no one really cares. Not the same way. The illusion is gone. It's all vague and, in your 20s especially, it can all feel immensely consequential. You're kind of trying to "figure it all out," or "win the game," so you can exhale and, you know, live your real life.

    Well, I think all that is life. I mean, when you think about what you're most nostalgic about when you're younger and being poked with a cattle prod through the stages, it isn't the report cards and graduations but the looser periods in between. Odds are that's where things were really potent—those summer breaks, etc.—and the beauty of adulthood is that's all of it.

    I've always been a big dreamer, and never a huge fan of structure, so I've always just put big dreams in the crosshairs and then gone about the business of shooting them down. Maybe it's making a movie or writing or novel. Maybe it's drinking wine by a canal in Paris. Maybe it's a house on a mountain, or an apartment in the city. Maybe it's making X amount of money, or having a retirement account that reads Y by age Z.

    Let these things enter your vision, and then pounce—hard. You don't always land where you think, and you miss a lot, but after a while you realize that missing and hitting are kind of the same thing. It's living. It's a blast.

    My few cents, for whatever they're worth.

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    This is what I hear rumbling beneath the surface. Plenty common. I think most people spend their lives wondering what the purpose, or main focus, is. My feeling is that it's always coming in and out of focus, changing shapes, and the more comfortable you can get with that idea the more you can settle into whatever it is that's right in front of you without worrying about what it's adding up to.

    Without that worry, more often than not, the thing in front of you starts to expand, deepen, and come into focus. It becomes the "purpose," for a while, until it doesn't.

    From your original post, it sounds like you're kind of struggling to find meaning—or a structure that provides the illusion of meaning. As you put it, we spend our earlier years in a tightly structured world where little shots of meaning are given to us constantly. We "graduate" elementary school, we have winter and summer breaks, we're building toward middle school, high school, college—everything marked in quarters, with pats on the back for basically doing nothing.

    Then you're out there in the world, actually doing things, but no one really cares. Not the same way. The illusion is gone. It's all vague and, in your 20s especially, it can all feel immensely consequential. You're kind of trying to "figure it all out," or "win the game," so you can exhale and, you know, live your real life.

    Well, I think all that is life. I mean, when you think about what you're most nostalgic about when you're younger and being poked with a cattle prod through the stages, it isn't the report cards and graduations but the looser periods in between. Odds are that's where things were really potent—those summer breaks, etc.—and the beauty of adulthood is that's all of it.

    I've always been a big dreamer, and never a huge fan of structure, so I've always just put big dreams in the crosshairs and then gone about the business of shooting them down. Maybe it's making a movie or writing or novel. Maybe it's drinking wine by a canal in Paris. Maybe it's a house on a mountain, or an apartment in the city. Maybe it's making X amount of money, or having a retirement account that reads Y by age Z.

    Let these things enter your vision, and then pounce—hard. You don't always land where you think, and you miss a lot, but after a while you realize that missing and hitting are kind of the same thing. It's living. It's a blast.

    My few cents, for whatever they're worth.
    You definitely hit the nail on the head. I've gone so far as to schedule my vacation time a year in advance to try and give myself the semblance of those breaks.

    But I will say, I'm all the happier for it.

    I guess I'm a creature of structure, deep down. But your post honestly gives me a lot of optimism. It sounds like it can be had, just in another form.

    A year ago I was going on and on about not spending time with friends the same way I did in those days. But, here I am now employed with a 9 to 5 job and I find myself almost more busy with friends now than when I was in college.

    I know I'm all over the place with this, but it what I'm taking away from it is that I'm the master of my own structure now.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    You know what's awesome? Being a creature of structure. Equally awesome? Being a creature of improvisation. Different strokes for different folks. And sometimes different strokes for most of us at different junctures.

    I was a raging machine of ambition when I was really young. I still probably am, in ways, but the focus has changed, the place where I find meaning and purpose has shifted. At 22 I was obsessed with knowing where I'd be at 30; now I'm 39 and could kind of give a damn about where I'll be at 41, but I'm super stoked to find out. Is that because I managed to shoot down some of the things in the crosshairs along the way? Sure, probably. But is it also just time changing things, showing me a different angle, a new color. Yeah, probably that too.

    I'll always remember my 30th birthday, when it just kind of hit me that: oh, I get it—I'll just do some stuff, then some more stuff, then some more, and the one day I won't do stuff anymore because I won't be alive. And all that stuff will add up to a life—meaning. In the meantime? Best to just live it, and hard, whatever that means to you.

    Maybe that sounds depressing, but to me it was utterly freeing. Allowed me to stop worrying about it all and just kind of float around in it. Now, don't get me wrong: I probably sound a bit woo-woo here, like a dude typing these words in the caboose while train-hopping across the country. I'm not. I've got two mortgages, a retirement account. I'm pretty laser focused on things, and a pursuit called out to be very hard very early in life—and I've been doing it since I was 19.

    That calling does anchor me, provides a sense of meaning. But, truth is, it unmoors me as much as it anchors me—like, you know, everything. Success and failure, lost and found—these aren't really opposites. Once you realize those things are all kind of the same—being rooted, being uprooted, being unrooted—you kind of get more deeply rooted in yourself.

    Probably that's just time. Or, who knows, the right structure for you. Or both.

    Keep searching. Never stop. A year ago you were searching for one thing, and it seems you found some version of it. So cool! Now you're itchy again. So cool! Enjoy the itch, the questions as much as the answers.

    My goal, for what it's worth, is that when I die—ideally never, but I'm a realist, and know it will happen—that my tombstone will read something like: "But wait, I just realized that what I really want is—"

    Alas, didn't get to finish the thought. All good. There were a lot of thoughts preceding it, ideas and journeys, side quests that turned out to be the quest, the quests that turned out to be side quests.

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