ROUTINES: How I unintentionally started adulting (sort of)

I’m back! You may have noticed I took a pretty solid four-month break from blogging. I did this for a few reasons, which I will address in future blog posts, but first, I want to talk about something else.

An underline theme of mine for 2017 has been the concept of “adulting.” – If you are unfamiliar with the trend, I recommend picking up a copy of Adulting: How To Become A Grown-Up In 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Portland-local Kelly Williams Brown or Almost Adulting: All You Need To Know To Get It Together (Sort Of) by YouTuber Arden Rose. – Because I started the year off with my 30th birthday (shout out to all the Capricorns out there), it seemed like a good year to get serious about acting more like an adult… or more accurately, acting in a way that makes me feel like an adult.

If the media portrayal is correct, there are quite a few people who struggle with the same feeling as I do: namely, I just don’t feel like I’m a grown up. Now maybe it’s because being an adult did not turnout at all like I imagined as a kid, or because I graduated college right after the 2008 housing bubble burst and subsequent market crash, or maybe it could be because I’m part of a generation that eats avocado toast (I doubt that last one), but I’ve struggled a lot in my late 20s with feeling like I thought I should at my age. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my professional successes and achieved some life goals and for the most part, acted like a responsible human being. Nevertheless, I’ve never quite grew out of feeling like I’m 22. There’s plenty of advice out there for being an adult. For me, the steps encompass subtle life-style goals.

One of these is to finally establish solid morning and evening routines (beyond simply brushing my teeth before and after bed). I’ve tried doing this before and never last longer than a few days. In my 20s, I had an inconsistent schedule; I bounced around in my career; I moved abroad and traveled; and I spent a lot of my free time going out to satisfy my extroverted need to recharge through social situations. All things that made it hard for me to have an established routine in the morning or in the evening. Hell, I felt like it was an accomplishment just to go to bed around midnight.

Then 2017 happened. Remember back in December when people would say things like, “I can’t wait for January. 2016 was the WORST!”? That’s how 2017 has been for me. Not even counting political factors, just on a personal level, this year has been rocky and stressful from the get go. It’s left me drained (and quite honestly a bit depressed feeling) that without intending to, I abandoned my normal social life in favor of alone time. Just the concept of being social seemed exhausting and I’ve felt completely disinterested in hanging out with all but a very small list of people. — I'm going to take a quick aside to apologize to anyone who's tried to hangout with me this year. It's me, not you ;) — It took me a while to realize how I was feeling, why I was feeling that way, and how all that was directly affecting things like, my social life.

But something really good has come from all of it. For the first in more than a decade, I was going to bed at a consistent time that was before midnight.  I started waking up earlier. Even though I work from home, I prepared my coffee and breakfast the night before, allowing me the ability to run or do yoga when I wake up and not feel like I’m cramming breakfast or constantly running late. I’d brew a cup of tea and read in bed at night, unplugged from (most) my electronics. I suddenly started doing all of this, seemingly naturally with very little effort and very little notice. I woke up one day to realize that I’d been doing the same thing every morning and every night for months! And those things had established a sense of consistency and comfort in a time of uncertainty and stress in my life. And slowly they made me feel just a little bit more adult, too.