Getting older is not child's play, so stop being so hard on yourself

Work, family and relationships all take their toll on a young adult. The important thing to do is to constantly take a break and do some reflection, before you burn out. /123RF
Work, family and relationships all take their toll on a young adult. The important thing to do is to constantly take a break and do some reflection, before you burn out. /123RF

One of the things I miss about being in my 20s, is how bold I was in my convictions about me and my capabilities.

The gift of hindsight tells me it was naivety, but it is a feeling I miss nonetheless. What felt like guts back then, I now know to have been a life lived with a seasoning of recklessness.

It really was the best and worst of times, the best because we really were having fun and the worst because we really had no idea or clue about anything.

Oh the dawn of adulthood! When we could still party from Thursday to Monday and not skip a beat.

Now, if you party on Friday you will only be able to get out of bed on Monday - if you are lucky.

There are many misconceptions one holds about life in their early 20s. But allow me to talk about two.

One - that you eventually figure life out and live happily ever after and that when you are an adult, you stop needing your parents.

I am 34 years old, at least I will be in the next two months, and have come to realise the hilarity of the lies I fed myself when I was younger.

As delicious as they were, they were still lies. I am mid-way to 40, a mother and have nothing figured out.

I remember a phone conversation I had with my father sometime last year.

He asked me how I was doing and my response was: "Papa, it's really hard being an adult". My father laughed so hard he ended up in a coughing fit.

When he finally caught his breath he asked me if I had thought they had been lying all along.

But what makes being an adult so hard? How many social media posts discussing the hardships of adulting do you find yourself agreeing with?

I don't have the answers unfortunately. But what I do know is that dancing is not the only thing that hits much harder when you are older.

Break ups are a lot harder to deal with, failure is a lot more devastating and when you are a black woman, the constant fight for visibility also takes its toll.

It is also of no help that we live in a gawking culture where every single thing we do is watched and scrutinised to death. Our mistakes are public, as is our humiliation.

I know more people now diagnosed with depression and anxiety than I did in my 20s.

There is an saying in Sepedi that says "lefase ema ke fologe", my friend Rami says it's a proverb, I can never tell between proverb and idiom.

This saying basically translates to a deep need of wanting the world to stop for a while so one could take a breath, to find some peace.

In a world that celebrates and keeps wanting total slayage and black girl magic, are we taking note of all the times life is nudging us to get off and catch a breath?

Who do you tell when you need a break and where do you go?

I have found myself at that juncture, where I am needing to catch a break. I am blessed because my job allows me to work from anywhere in the world and I have a refuge I can go to.

May you always remember that we are all just winging it, that none of us really know where this train is going.

And never allow people's show of smiles and happiness to stop you from showing your pain and your burdens.

Take a break if you can, if you can't, be kinder to yourself.

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