Time to be an adult

Career Opportunities podcast logoTime to be an adult
By Douglas E. Welch



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Douglas will be traveling back to Ohio to visit family and friends from June 28 through July 13. Would you like to meetup?

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Let me set the scene…I am sitting in the ICU ward of Firelands Regional Medical Center while my father sleeps peacefully beside me. He is recovering from a 5-way heart bypass that happened rather suddenly, when previous heart fixes needed to be replaced. We had planned a family trip back to Ohio already when we got the call that he was in the hospital, so we knew immediately what we would be doing on our first week back. Which is what I am doing right now. Cheerleading, handholding, brow-mopping and just simply being there.

Basically, that all this means is that I am forced to play an adult, even if perhaps I don’t really feel like one. Even at 45, I don’t think of myself much different than I was at 18, but I know that I have grown and that I am capable of being “an adult”, even when I may not want to be. While we should do everything we can to maintain some child-like attitudes towards our life and our work, we need to be able to “turn on” our adult side when we need it.

Unfortunately, I meet a lot of people in my life that don’t seem to have any adult skills. Everything in life seems to happen “to” them. Purses are lost, keys missing, bills late and more. While this can make life more difficult in small ways, it is truly a problem when they are forced to take on the adult role through a sickness, death, or family tragedy. Too many of them simply “melt down” under the pressure. They haven’t practiced being an adult in the their normal lives and don’t know how to be an adult when it really matters.

It is never too early to practice being an adult and thinking about adult questions, even if you don’t have to. As I have often said in the past, it is so much better and easier to think through difficult questions without the stress that will be involved when you need to implement the plans you create. Trying to think through all the plans that need to be made is nearly impossible when grieving, worrying or panicking. A little though about issues that might arise allows you to move into action just when you need it most.

One clear sign that you are not “stepping up to the role of an adult is when you allow others to make too many decisions for you. There are some decisions that you can’t and shouldn’t abdicate to others. Even so, I see people do this all the time. They agree to let their doctor, their boss, their spouse and even their kids dictate decisions to them, often just to avoid the critical thinking required to come to an informed decision. How many people do you know who have been swayed to use a drug, buy a product or service simply because they saw an advertisement on the television or in the papers?

When you, or someone you know, responds to a request for a decision with “Whatever you want?” — push them for an answer. Push them for a decision. When you do this, you are helping them and yourself to grow. Too many people allow life to happen “to” them, rather than consciously making decisions about their life. Don’t fall into this trap.

There are times we all need to, at least, act like an adult and make adult decisions. Doing this with smaller decisions first means that you will be well-prepared when the time come. Adult decisions are something that cannot be avoided. Even if you actively try to put off or ignore them, they will come looking for you, often at the worst time. Stay young at heart, but understand that there are times when you need to be an adult.


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