Welcome to the Shitshow

Adults lie all the time. And I'm not talking about the obvious Santa Claus-Easter Bunny-Tooth Fair lies. Those are relatively innocuous. In fact, the worst lie isn't even something adults actually say--it's a lie we tell everyday in just existing. A lie we tell in every move we make as adults. I don't know if adults even know we're lying. But we do it. All. the. time.

So here's the truth, people-who-can't-rent-a-car-yet (that's my adult threshold): Adults are messy. And none of them--not a single solitary one--has their shit together.

I mean, none of them.

Shit is everywhere. Everywhere.

Most young people think that, once they're bonafide adults, they'll have their lives figured out. The chaos and uncertainty will fade and suddenly it'll all make sense. I know I believed this. I believed that when I was a real adult--when that would happen was a little hazy--I would suddenly find myself competent at things like insurance and taxes, home maintenance and gardening, politics and geopolitical positioning. And most importantly, I thought navigating life would get easier. I thought adults just knew... whatever. All of it.

I'm 33. Guess what? I have no fucking clue.

Because part of what I've realized since becoming an adult is that no one ever has it together. Not really, and certainly not all the time. Life is messy and chaotic and everyone is just doing the best they can. Adults screw up all the time. This summer? Oh, I screwed up this summer. And another part of being an adult is realizing that sometimes when you screw up--when you ruin a relationship--the damage isn't fixable. And that thought will make you weepy. And anxious. And really angry. But you're an adult. So you act like everything's fine in public and just weep in your car to Biggy's "Big Poppa" when no one's looking.

Like I said: shit everywhere.

Being an adult has been a process of realizing that everyone lives their life in various states of shambles. There's no age where anyone suddenly gets a handbook that tells you how to react in every situation, how to manage every sort of stress, or prepare for every sort of disaster. Is there a good way to handle a cancer diagnosis? The death of a friend? The sudden implosion of a friendship you valued? It's always going to be messy.

But here's the amazing part: we don't need to have it all together. Some days--weeks, months even-- I've got it together. Other times, I settle for having all my shit in the same room. Some days even that is too much.

The real secret of being an adult is realizing you will never quite be able to believe this is happening to you. You'll never be magically competent. You'll never stop vaguely feeling like a bit of a fraud as you go do this whole adult thing. You'll see other adults and believe they know more than you do--that they're better at this adulting thing. They don't and they're not. But for some reason we're all really invested in believing that isn't true because it's terrifying to think everyone else is just as bemused by this as we are.

So that's the secret. Life is, in actuality, one big shitshow. And sometimes that's awful. Sometimes that means you cry to 90s rap in your car or text your friend to ask if it's really so bad to drink alone with your dog at 3pm (those are true stories--being an adult is weird).

But sometimes, sometimes that shitshow is beautiful. Because there's beauty in resilience and perseverance and starting over. There's beauty in knowing that we all live through our own private wars, and that we all carry our own private battle scars. And oh my there is beauty in knowing that no matter how many times the world ends, the sun will come up and there is a chance to start it over again the next day.

And, until then--until you can see the beauty in it all--you're an adult.

So you know, you can always take up day drinking.


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