I often joke with friends that I’m pretty sure at some point I’m going to wake up, realize that I’m 65 years old, and I will finally feel like an adult. I know I’m not alone in feeling as though I’m slightly unprepared for the situations that I find myself in. The constant narrative from Boomers tends to be that Millenials presume themselves as adults and want all the success with none of the working for it. Beyond my protests over being lumped in with people 10 years younger than me (who were quite literally raised in a different world than I was due to technological innovations), I can’t help but think that for most of us 35 and under, the Boomers couldn’t be more wrong.
The majority of people I know have dealt with Imposter Syndrome in their work. For those lucky few who are unfamiliar, when you have imposter syndrome you don’t feel as though you have really earned your spot. You shouldn’t have the higher ranking job because you don’t have the qualifications. You go through your days worried that someone will find out that you are in over your head. If you had a theme song, it would be “Over My Head” by the Fray.
I can’t say that I really had imposter syndrome, but I certainly identify with parts of it. I’ve had conversations with colleagues wondering when we would get the memo on how to look like a grownup. Think: “so and so is so grownup and professional looking… I just feel like I’m somehow still in high school.” My nail polish always seems to chip. I’m pretty incapable of not having wrinkles in my clothes (seriously how do people manage that!?) Let’s not touch on the clutter situation. It wasn’t so much imposter syndrome about my abilities, but adult imposter syndrome on my ability to be a grownup.
In reality, I shouldn’t feel like a kid. I have a graduate degree. My best friend has a kid. Actually, a lot of my friends have kids. Another one just had a baby yesterday! I’m not a kid by any stretch of the imagination, but I just kept thinking that the grownup part of my life was going to happen as a turning point and I would notice it. All of the seemingly perfect lives I’ve seen plastered across blogs and Facebook only serve to make it seem as though everyone has it together and you just don’t yet.
I think I have used the excuse of “eventually growing up” for a while as an easy out for not fully applying myself. I’ve had a lot of change in the past few months. The Mr. had a mystery illness for a few months which created a lot of stress and worry in our lives. Then within the scope of 3 days I had quit my job for a much better job with far more responsibility and I got engaged to the love of my life who I have been with long enough that we could have a child in school. I’ve paid off my credit card (which I was quite embarrassed to have a balance on), set up a new retirement account, and started planning a wedding that will inevitably be the most expensive thing I’ve ever paid for. It’s been a lot to take in and it has actually provided a lot of clarity for me.
All of a sudden I don’t feel so stuck and I sort of, kind of, maybe feel like I’m grown. I liked my old job. I had fantastic coworkers. I worked on an area that I felt incredibly passionate about. I did some pretty cool things and helped make some pretty legitimate changes in policy for people across the country. But I had reached a point where I couldn’t advance further. I was stifled, and it stifled every aspect of my life.
Totally shifting my life around has really provided a great opportunity to look at things fresh. I’m cleaning out my life, my closet, and my mind from things holding me back. I’ve recently started some great habits and I am finally realizing that if I want to feel like a grown up woman who gets things done, then I need to act like one.
It took me until this weekend, when I finally paid off that damn credit card, to really have the realization that I feel different. So I figured a new blog look was in order. I’m working on building my own site eventually, but for now this will do. Here’s to creating the reality that we want.