By Adam Jeske

Is This the Hardest Part of Being an Adult?

You know what it means to become an adult, right?

• You know what you’re doing.

• You are capable.

• You solve problems.

• You are independent.

• You are in control.

• You take responsibility.

• (And these 144 other things, too.)

But there’s a problem. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re doing. Sometimes you are incapable. Sometimes you can’t solve the problem. Sometimes you aren’t independent or in control.

One of the hardest parts for me of becoming an adult was admitting both when I make mistakes and when I need help. It’s doing that last point above, taking responsibility—especially when you need help and make mistakes.

Nobody’s Perfect

Regardless of our worldview, we know that nobody is perfect. It’s a truism buried down deep in every one of us. We know we are flawed.

But we want to be perfect. All the brilliant marketing that’s constantly fired at us tells us we should be, we must be, we can be, we will be. 

We want to be in control. We want to do things right. We want to be able to say, “I got this.”

And sometimes we do got this. Sometimes we solve the problem and everything goes swimmingly. But often we don’t, and it doesn’t.

Those are the times when we show if we have actually become adults, when we choose to say, “I screwed up. I failed. I’m sorry. I need help.”

In those admissions, we step toward maturity.

I Hate This

Even at 36, I’m still bad at apologies. I’m bad at admitting my weakness. I’m bad at asking for help or forgiveness.

I know it’s important, but I would do almost anything to avoid apologizing to my wife and asking for her forgiveness. I hate it. (Chrissy, I’m sorry that this is true. Please forgive me.)

But deep down, I know I have to do it. Because I know I can’t be perfect; I can’t get everything right. I get grouchy and harsh toward my wife some days. I exasperate my children too. “Where is the blue backpack?” I seethe. “Who didn’t clean out the sink?” I rage.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Dear wife and kids and friends and everyone, please forgive me.

Never-Ending

This process of becoming adults—of admitting our mistakes and need, of maturing—doesn’t end. Rather, it’s the rhythm of our lives. Which means that it’s not just the hardest part of becoming an adult. It’s also the hardest part of being an adult, for our whole lives. 

I think it’s so hard because no one forces us to do it. There are no laws about it. There is no authority to remind us, no parent standing over us prodding us to admit our failings and ask for forgiveness.

We want to be strong, capable, in control, right, successful, perfect. But we aren’t . . . ever.

So we better get used to admitting it.

Do you agree? Do you find this difficult? If I got this wrong, I’m sorry.

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Adam Jeske has served in Nicaragua, China, and South Africa.

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