Adulting, the Joy and the Pain

Adulting is a process of transition between teenager and adolescent. As I had mentioned before in article on quarter life crisis, it is a period whereby we question our existence due to the huge change which happen to us. This huge change creates confusion and even possibly, depressive thoughts. Hence, this article is written in hope that we can learn how to manage better this complex process.

I believe the critical factor which impact our mental health is the amount of work that we need to do and the expectation people have towards it. As the world is becoming more competitive (which has an upside, getting better goods and services), it can be especially stressful being the newbie at the job. The seniors seem to be performing extremely well while at the same time super busy to have the time to mentor the juniors. On some occasions, the new employees are expected to learn quick and make as minimal mistakes as possible. Everybody is under the pressure to excel and perform.

The key to this problem is to empathize with ourselves. We need to understand that indeed we are new to the game but it does not mean we cannot be the master soon. With perseverance and right perspective, we can slowly start to conquer smaller task and eventually ace the strategic projects. We need to communicate this well with our seniors, manage their expectations without compromising our ability to progress, and manage the healthy tension between well-being and performance.

Additionally, we can look at it as a trusted responsibility. We are given the work because our seniors see us as a capable individual worthy enough to be trusted with the work. I believe that most of our work should still be useful in some way and will impact the work of our seniors. If we take it seriously and work at it diligently, we will slowly gain more trust of our seniors and they too will be more willing to mentor us to master the game.

Another cause of the pain is also because at times, it may seem that our work is meaningless. Let’s say you work in the planning department. A lot of time you would think that all the work that you do is just Excel. If you look at it that way, definitely you would be depressed or even suicidal. I think that the better way to look at it is to include more perspectives. As a planner, our job is to ensure that the production line has enough capability to produce to satisfy the need of our customers. To take this further, we can think about how the product can positively benefit the customer and even the society at large. In some way or another, I believe that a lot of products drive the world forward in one way or another. Understanding how your work have a trickle down effect to many other parties give you the feeling of significance. I strongly believe that this is not a hyperbole, and that every action that we do matters, no matter how small. The opposite is to think that nothing matters, no matter how big, which will lead to the path of destruction.

If you think about it, being an Excel guru, expert or ninja also seem extremely interesting! Being a master at something also give a sense of fulfilment. If you can find something that captivates you to the smallest detail, you will have an extremely fulfilling career. For me, so far I really enjoyed basketball and continued to think to the smallest detail of movement from my wrist to ankle. There is an infinite amount of possibility of movement, and imagining every single scenario brings a new life to the game because you always feel that there is a world to explore and venture into, an open horizon which takes away your breath. Hence, there is a need for imagination and creativity, to bring fulfilment to the most mundane of work. If you think about it, the objective of basketball is to put the ball into the hoop, something seems extremely boring. However, when you watch the NBA, you will not think so. You will see the embodiment of power, the excitement of the crowd from the last second shot, and the beauty of movement. All these things interact with one another to create something more than a game, it creates career, commitment, and inspiration.

Another factor which causes adulting to be impossible also includes having a family as per society expectation. Having a family is extremely difficult, it combines two people together to live forever. Not to mention the rising expense as well. My take on this is to continue to build relationships, take the leap when the right person comes, or just be single. I believe there is nothing wrong in being single. There is an extremely vast activities that can be done when you are single. We need to figure out more about ourselves, and do activities which brings progress into our lives.

For my friends who are struggling with adulting, remember that you are not alone. Talk to your friends and take it easy. Peace.

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Samuel Tjandra

Samuel Tjandra

These writings are dedicated to you. I write in hope to add useful perspectives for you to ponder about and apply. Comment to help me and you.