The “Accomplished Adult Award” vs. Contentment

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut, football player, track runner, teacher, missionary, computer designer, chef, writer, director, and mail.

In my teenage years, I believed that my “shyness” would vanish once I hit my twenties and worked a “real” job.

I just knew I would be a confident, joyful person that was making a positive difference in everyone’s life. I would get along with everyone and all would have as much enthusiasm as I did about creating a better world. I would go about sharing my testimony without qualms and my relationship with Christ would be vibrant and apparent in my relationships with others.

Here I am at 25. Ha. Shoot, what was I thinking? I thought I would have this one defining moment where I could say “I have arrived! I am adult. I know what I am suppose to be doing!” My peers would award me a cape and the “Accomplished Adult (Has her act together) Award. Of course, that did not have happen. I feel like I am still searching for that right thing for me, the “it” moment. How do you stay content when life disappoints and dreams lay unmet?

I wonder that as it still takes me “forever” to open up with people and new social encounters are a little step out of my comfort zone. I wonder why I still struggle with confidence and fall into a cycle of pleasing people. Why do I put so much emphasis on man’s opinion?

There are days when I grapple with these issues. I think “If only. . .” and then I observe the people who have the accolades and good standing of society. They have what I want, but they are still unhappy, insecure, and searching. Even they escape into their vices: shopping, drinking, drugs, sex, eating, exercising, creating a pristine image to hide behind and being completely, absolutely busy that they hardly have time to sleep let alone think.

I was listening to a certain celebrity recently. Celebrities have everything: connections, money, power, and the freedom to have just about anything they desire, but still even they struggle to find purpose, meaning in their lives.

Shocking right? They impact millions every day. Yet, they are miserable and lost. What is next? So what? We all are on quest for something, to do something.

I just read The Rose Society where the main character’s goal was to avenge all the people who had hurt her and obtain the highest power in her world. She longed to place the crown on her head and have the power to control her kingdom. Yet, when she finally receives that prestigious mantel of power, she waits, waits . . . but the magic from her imagination never happens. Huh. The expected mojo, didn’t show up. Something was missing. Maybe she needed a Thanksgiving.

Apparently, this is the month of Thankfulness where we stuffed ourselves with food, buy things, hangout with relatives and say the obligatory “I am thankful for. . .”

I am glad we have this month, this holiday. It is just not a pregame show for Christmas. It reminds me that being an adult is not about arriving, meeting my goals or being successful. It is about enjoying all cycles of life and being content in whatever part of life I am in.

Yes, I have my days. However, I am currently having some wonderful experiences. As I grew up, in my ever changing list of careers, teacher was always a part of that list. I knew that whatever I did I wanted it to involve working with children in some capacity. I am teacher now and it is definitely not easy. Paperwork, district requirements, student needs, anxious parents, creating lessons that meets the needs of every child, and sometimes receiving recognition only when you make mistakes. And yet, I still love my job.

Despite the lengthy list of standards, I still have the freedom of creating engaging lessons that shape future leaders. I enjoy the moments when a lesson clicks for a student (usually guided by an “Ohhhh! I get it!”) or they are brimming over with so much excitement about classwork that I have to tell them to leave so they won’t be late for their next class. I love moments like last week when my running club students ran over three miles with little prompting. At the beginning of the year they could hardly run a mile and told me “Three miles! That’s too much running.” Now they want to join 5ks and maybe complete a 10k.

Sure there are plenty of things I want to do like travel, coach, write novels, conquer my fear of falling, but today I am going to enjoy being the imperfect  adult I am.

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