This is one of the hardest blogs I’ve ever written. But I wanted to write it because I know there is some young adult out there that can relate.
I have this really bad habit of internalizing everything. Call it pride or whatever you want. I’d say around the middle of my teenage years right on up to now, I’ve had numerous instances where my lid has almost come undone. I don’t mean the “waterboilingoverthesidesofthepotuntilthelidslidesoff” kind of undone. It’s more of the “WWIIIupinhere” kind of undone. Through all the trying moments, it’s hard to always know how to adequately express exactly what it is that sets me so on edge. Everybody’s feelings can’t always be spared. Sometimes ya gotta just say it.
I’d have to say my most pressing stage of life is the present. I will admit that since I’ve moved back home post-college, this phase is the most trying. Not only am I navigating the beginning stages of total “adulting”, trying to get some ground beneath me. But I’m also trying (and failing most of the time) to be gracious and understanding. Let me explain. It’s a learning and growing experience, trying to establish my independence under the involved presence of wonderful parents. They really are wonderful. Really.
But it’s a learning experience for us all. There’s no manual on how to parent a 22 year old for the first time, so I try to be gracious and understanding knowing that this is just as hard for them as it is for me. I’m not saying I want the “hands-off-and-let-me-do-me” and the whole nine yards. Okay, you know what? Let me try this from a different angle. Growing up as a young adult, we constantly get the talks, lectures, advice, words of wisdom, and suggestions (that are more like subtle demands) thrown at us from every which way. All of them are good and necessary. (Except the suggestions. I don’t respond very well to suggestions, honestly. But that could be my pride talking again).
During this time of transition, communication is critical. And still I find that I avoid it. I avoid it because there’s no telling what will come spilling out of my mouth before I’ve had a chance to think about it. I avoid it because it’s easier to turn to someone else. I avoid it because that chasm has grown wider over the years. So wide that I don’t feel comfortable crossing it. And that’s a tough spot for any young adult to be in.
There are many days where the suffocation is so real. But there are also a lot of good days where the conversations flow easily. Every day there is the struggle to not feel so behind in responsibilities. There is the struggle to not respond in anger when it feels as though something is spoken without credibility. I admit, I’m the kind of person that has to learn the hard way. Most times I’m too curious for my own good. In math we’re advised to leave room for a margin of error. Young adulthood is a lot like that. A lot of the errors are made out of ignorance and are preventable. Others are genuinely made from lack of understanding and wisdom.
I daily have to check myself from falling into the “the-more-you-try-to-have-control-the-worse-you-make-it-for-yourselves” mentality towards my parents. And that is the brutal honest truth. I hate that thought. But even more, I hate that I cling to it in my moments of frustration. Because they try so hard to understand. “You know you can always talk to us, right?” On the surface I give the expected nod or a “yes”. But in my mind it’s more of a “Sure…but no thanks.” And it makes me wonder, “where and when exactly did communication break down?” I never know the answer. All I know is that I often stuff every emotion, every thought, and every word deep down inside and wait it out until I leave.
I don’t share this because I want to be pitied. I certainly don’t. I don’t share this for sympathy. I don’t need it. I share this because it’s important to release. It’s important to try to understand the shifting dynamic of parenting a young adult as opposed to when he/she was a child. Finding the balance is not easy. We won’t always be on the same page. We will make mistakes (yes, even repeats of our parents’ mistakes). We will agree to disagree. But at the end of the day, the challenge for myself is to be as understanding and gracious as I can be. To not forsake obedience out of anger and frustration. To be kind, patient, forgiving, and loving. To trust that one day, that chasm will be become nonexistent. To remain joyful in the fact, though I struggle, I have not fallen away. To remain joyful that He is still working in me, on me, around me, and through me despite my failings. That is what’s most important.