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The Cult of Adulting

I’m just gonna jump right in and say that I can’t stand the word “adulting”. I cringe whenever I hear it. It’s such a loaded word, and it’s on my list of loaded words that I won’t use.

I get it. People don’t like dealing with the mundane responsibilities of life. But y’all have gotten it so wrong. By even using the word adulting suggests that you are not an adult. That to be an adult is to play a role, to pretend, to make believe you are an adult. It suggests being an adult is a burden. That being responsible is a bad thing. And this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Ok, rolling up my sleeves here. Let’s unpack this shit.

To be responsible is to be response- able. Able to respond to life and what life presents to you. And it’s not a burden. It’s actually an unburdening.

When we fully take responsibility in and for our lives, we liberate ourselves from dependency on others for our well being (which is not to say that we can’t or shouldn’t need other people in our lives, or ask others for help). Owning our sense of responsibility empowers us to be the creator of our circumstances, not victims of life. It allows us to be agents of our own solutions, not stuck in helplessness over our problems. It’s ultimate empowerment.

There tends to be this idea that to be a responsible adult is “no fun.” It's so common for people to use the word "responsible" as a pejorative. I hear people talk about “adulting” as if to be responsible means that you must suppress your inner child. But the exact opposite is what’s true.

The thing is, being a responsible adult is actually how you free your inner child. When we take responsibility, we are taking care of our lives so our inner child doesn’t have to. So that the inner child can play. But if  there is no adult in the relationship with Self, then the inner child is stuck forever having the bear the burden of “adulting.” Because there is no responsible adult in there to do it for them.

I spent so much of my own childhood emotionally parenting everyone in my family (and I'm the youngest). I also became a caregiver at a very young age. So I had to experience some very adult roles early in life. The last thing my inner child needs now is to be walking around life with an adult who can’t (or won’t) care for her. What that sweet, innocent little Julia needs is to know that there is someone there who will make sure her needs get met. Who will make sure she is nurtured and nourished in all areas of life. Someone who allows her to feel seen and heard. Someone who wants the best for her and is willing to do whatever it takes to provide the best life possible for her. Which includes doing the hard things. The “not fun” things. She needs to be able to trust that there is someone in charge who can handle shit. So she doesn’t have to. So she can be the child. And just play.  So she can feel safe, secure, and taken care of. Free to just Be, and be loved. Because she knows she will be cared for.

The inner child in each of us, our souls, our individual hearts, they are crying for nourishment and we are neglecting them because we don’t want to be the adult. Being an adult, owning our responsibilities in every way, is the deepest, most fulfilling form of self-love.

And  every day we each have the opportunity to nourish ourselves and to love ourselves exactly how we have always wanted and needed...
Making the bed- this is how you love yourself.
Doing the dishes- this is how you love yourself.
Paying the bills- this is how you love yourself.
Making enough money to pay the bills- this is how you love yourself.
Getting rid of clutter- this is how you love yourself.
Cutting out toxic people- this is how you love yourself.
Surrounding yourself with healthy people- this is how you love yourself.
Allowing others to love you- this is how you love yourself.
Trying new things- this is how you love yourself.
Stretching your comfort zone- this is how you love yourself.
Doing the thing that you really want to do, but scares the hell out of you- this is how you love yourself.
Not second guessing every little damn thing- this is how you love yourself.
Saying No- this is how you love yourself.
Saying Yes- this is how you love yourself.
Moving your body- this is how you love yourself.
Being vulnerable- this is how you love yourself.
Spending time in silence (so you can actually hear what your inner child is trying to tell you)- this is how you love yourself.
Being really honest with yourself (even when you don't want to believe the truth)- this is how you love yourself.
Setting boundaries- this is how you love yourself.
Respecting boundaries (other people's and your own)- this is how you love yourself.
Eating delicious, nutritious meals- this is how you love yourself.
Allowing yourself to be seen and heard- this is how you love yourself.
Showing up in the world- this is how you love yourself.
Making art, whatever your art may be (laying concrete could be your art)- this is how you love yourself.
Sharing what you create- this is how you love yourself.
Taking healthy risks- this is how you love yourself.
Going to therapy- this is how you love yourself.
Nourishing yourself- physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, sexually, financially- this is how you love yourself.
Being a damn adult- this is how you love yourself!

And it’s how you love others.

Because if you don’t take responsibility for yourself, you ultimately put it on someone else.

There are so many ways every day in which we can love ourselves, but the cosmic joke, of course, is that the very thing that so many people run from, is the very thing that our souls are truly yearning for the most. To be able to trust that someone will take care of us the way we need to be taken care of, to get our needs met, to feel safe and secure and supported. To be loved, cared for, and nurtured. To feel deeply nourished on a soul level. That is how we heal the wounds of our inner child. To BE the adult. Not just play the role.

And guess what? Here's the etymological derivation of the word "Adult."

adult (adj.)1530s (but not common until mid-17c.) "grown, mature," from Latin adultus "grown up, mature, adult, ripe," past participle of adolescere "grow up, come to maturity, ripen," from ad "to" (see ad-) + alescere "be nourished," hence, "increase, grow up," inchoative of alere "to nourish," from a suffixed form of PIE root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish." 

                        xx ~JRM

Be who you needed when you were little.


  1. Amazing post! So true. Thanks for getting clarity on this and putting it in words. This helps me understand life better. ❤️ -Rachel


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