We all know “adulting” can be difficult. It’s the job that’s forced on everyone over the age of 21 that could include a daily work routine, personal commitments, health scares, money issues, family responsibilities and unanticipated twists in the road.
My recent post on the idea of just having fun got me musing about how fun fits into rigors of adulting. Over the past few years, I’ve attempted to take some breaks from adulting so hard and tried a few things that revolve around creativity, new experiences, fun, and just slowing down or showing up. These were things I wanted to do just for the sake of doing - not to meet a goal, achieve an end, or prove something to myself or others.
As I took these occasional diversions from adulting, I was pleasantly surprised to discover nothing bad happened. I never missed work deadlines, overlooked paying a bill, forgot to put gas in my car or left the dog out in the rain. Actually lots of good happened, and I've realized that a little adjustment in my definition of adulting can bring bursts of joy, new friends, a little sense of adventure and some much-needed respite that I didn’t know I needed.
Here’s a little of what I’ve discovered:
It doesn't matter if you aren't good at it (whatever "it" is).
For me that “it” is music. For most of my adulting life, I lived under the false impression that everything should be a means to an end – meeting a goal or expectation, whether mine or someone else’s. I've written about this before when exploring the art of creative dabbling versus regimented "doing" and came to the realization that the fun can be in the journey of the practice, rather than the destination of the perfect.
Admittedly, I don't have an untapped musical talent, an undiscovered angel's voice or even a basic sense of rhythm. I always thought these apparent shortcomings that meant the delight of playing music would be forever lost to me. I listened as others in my life talked about the "zone" of playing music. Sure, cool for you, I thought, but I figured I’d never experience that because I'd never be good at music.
Enter the magic of a little yellow ukulele and a diverse group of people I play music with who live the belief you don't have to be good - you just have to show up, try, play and have fun.
A conversation with an artist friend over the holidays drove home this idea of "not being good at something.” We were talking about my uke playing. I gushed about how much fun it is, but I punctuated the conversation by saying "but I'll never be good at it." She stopped me mid-sentence. She said "never say you're not good at something." Enjoy it. Try it. Learn from it. That's more than enough reason to do it (whatever that "it" is).
That conversation kept gurgling around in my brain, and I finally recognized the fact she was exactly right. I realized it was easy to lose sight of the fact that the practice journey is far more important than the perfect destination. And I do love the practice, but more importantly I love the fellowship - with my Uke-a-Ladies (+ Steve) sip 'n strum group, my adult rock band class, my Sunday morning church group, the occasional uke jams at Sims Music and the library, or my weekly lesson.
Not once has anyone ever told me I had to be good; actually no one's ever said I had to be adequate. All I have to do is show up, be a part of things and have fun.
I had been adulting so hard, I’d forgotten how much fun it is to just have fun.