Part of growing up is finding who you are, it’s navigating the tricky path to find your spirit animal and to understand your inner child. It’s a beautiful journey of self discovery and choosing to be wonderfully, perfectly, happy. It’s clean eating, yoga, and drinking 4000 litres of water a day. You will never be a true grownup unless you wake up every morning and plaster a giant smile on your face from the minute your kale smoothie touches your lips.
Except that’s all bollocks.
I’ve watched enough TED talks to know that self improvement is a massive industry, and enough Louis Theroux documentaries to know that many people believe that spiritual movements or religions can sometimes seem like a person’s only way out of a shitty life. Many preachy, self improvers position themselves far away from religion and that messy business, but the fact is they are all just providing you will a whole load of rules for how to live your life. And that is FINE…or at least it is fine if you can comfortably adhere to those rules.
With the social media boom we were also gifted a boom in memes and arty instagram shots telling us to ‘Breathe’, ‘Choose Happy’, and ‘Be The Best Version Of You’. That dark haired girl you used to sit next to in Maths a thousand years ago will constantly share posts on Facebook about ‘finding her path’, and how positive vibes cured her fungal nail infection and made her pregnant. But sometimes you need to see a doctor about your fungal nail infection and you’ll sometimes find yourself running around in the woods nowhere near ‘your path’. Each positivity movement or self improvement mission imposes more pressure on people who are already struggling to keep up.
It’s okay that you can’t choose to be happy today because you missed your bus, and you got shouted at by your boss and you forgot to press save on your spreadsheet that you’d been working on for 6 hours. Happy is an emotion, and it’s okay not to feel it all of the time. It’s also completely okay not to be the best version of yourself all the time. If today’s version of you is lay in bed til 12pm, unwashed, and completely unproductive then that’s who you are today. You don’t have to climb a mountain, create a million dollar startup and eat a boat load of broccoli every single day of your life.
Don’t even get me started on being told to ‘Breathe‘.
The thing is, that these positive vibes and secrets to happiness are actually just brags about how easy that person is finding life. It’s a badge of honour to say “I was once a mess like you, now I’m not, so let me tell you why you are a piece of shit”.
When you are struggling just to keep up with the pressure of having a good career, buying a home, finding ‘da one’ and keeping your finances above minus figures, adding ‘pure, perfect, happiness’ and ‘positive vibes only’ is like dumping a skip full of sand on top of someone who is trying to crawl out of a 6 foot deep hole. So I know that I titled this ‘Rules For Growing Up’ but I am actually only going to give you one rule.
- Do it your fucking own way.
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