Being an Adult is Hard

But he did not understand the price. Mortals never do. They only see the prize, their heart’s desire, their dream…

But the price of getting what you want, is getting what you once wanted.

Neil Gaiman, Dream Country

Over the past two months I was on a job hunt. I had left my previous job, one of two jobs I had ever felt at home and happy. Though, things change.

That’s the way life is.

The interviews I subsequently participated in, I made it through the first “stage” in all. (I specify first “stage” because, with one, I chose not to go to the second portion of the hiring/interview process where I would meet and shadow the rest of the team, since I accepted the position I am now about to start. Who knows?! Perhaps there would have been a chance that the one company would not have loved me after that.)

Now, I have watched a lot of YouTubers lately: others’ advice on fashion, on travel, and on random things. During all this, I thought, “Anna should never give interview advice, especially on YouTube.”

I do not interview like your stereotypical candidate. Sure, I’ll dress up.

But, I am animated. My gestures are all over the place. I say things like, “Du-du-du!” happily. I clap when the interviewer says something I feel like clapping to. I feel the glinting behavior in my eyes.

I am myself, I try to be as genuine as I can and will be, and I have a lot of eccentric behaviors.

Some people consider me traveling with a Coco to other countries an eccentric behavior.

The position I have now, one of the interviewers (out of the group of four) gave me the introduction about the interview, and included the line that went something like,

“We’ll see if you are a good fit for us.”

I replied, “I can fit in anywhere.”

That said, post interview, I thought, “I do not think I would fit in very well in a drug cartel. Would that have been appropriate to say? Maybe saying I could fit in anywhere was too bold because now they could possibly think I’d fit in with a drug cartel. But oh man, I would not do well during a drug cartel interview…”

Drug cartel interviewer (DCI): “So, you can fit in anywhere?”

Me: “Yes!”

DCI: “That’s great! We are looking for people who can blend in and get our product to our confidential clients!”

Me: “I’m sure!”

DCI: “How many people have you killed?”

Me: “I… don’t have any experience with that. Do most people who start with you have experience with that?”

DCI: “Not everyone. But the ones that don’t have experience make up for it with a past of money laundering, blackmail, forgery…”

Me: “I see.”

DCI: “You look a little uncomfortable.”

Me: “No, no, not me. I never get stressed. As we discussed earlier…”

DCI: “You seemed to get uncomfortable when I mentioned killing.”

Me: “I guess I’m just nervous about not having had any experience. You guys are the best, so if you take me on I’d make sure to learn! It’s the job!”

DCI: “So, you lied a bit ago when I pointed out that you looked uncomfortable.”

Me: “This isn’t going to end well for me, is it?”

DCI: “Find comfort in that things may not have ended well for you even if you had never attended this interview.”

Me: “Yeah, I know.”

I get really into thought experiments sometimes.

Anyway, the point is I do a lot of things during interviews that most people would never recommend.

Later on, I was asked about how I have dealt with disagreements with coworkers coworkers/disagreeable coworkers. Within my explanation, I inserted, “Being an adult is hard. I do it, because that’s all you can do. But that is something that’s been hard on me.” I thought then, how that answer applied to all aspects of my life, not simply work.

It made me feel happy though, too, that I could be honest about all of these things and still be invited to work with the company. Those little things that mean a lot.

Last year, I broke my streak of being an adult.

Me: I can just use ABA to help fix this.

OP: But, this is your life. […] You always seem so happy. What you are doing is a lot of work.

Me: I have to try.

Summer 2018

I broke it in many ways. I should mention, being an adult is awful.

Being an adult is being free to be your own person. You are free to find your treasure of happiness in that cave in the mountain yonder.

However, it is also figuring out how to find joy while swimming in the oceans of sadness en route. It is trying to figure out how to make a raft to get above when you cannot see anything to use.

Now, I am not saying every adult is swimming through an ocean of sadness. I am saying that the adult thing to do is: 

if and when 
you get to that particular ocean, 
you have to keep up the appearance 
that everything is dandy.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, you eventually get to say that there was a time you crossed a sad ocean, and tell what was in that sad ocean.

Like, I can say that when I was young and smaller my family was on a bus that got hijacked in the Philippines. I cried and asked for the hijackers not to kill my father when they put a gun to his American head. I learned early on that I was incredibly cute and could counter terrorists.

But I can’t say openly what happened when I lived in China, nor the last time I went to Korea. I can’t openly say what happened since I moved back to the States. Most of my entire life is hidden in darkness. Stating this is not very adult of me.

The interesting thing is, that on my death bed, I will likely say that all of the pain, the chaos, darkness and light, ugliness and beauty, and the things that have ripped me apart and taken parts of me were all worth it. I have gotten to see darkness that no one else has ever gotten to see. On the flip side, I have seen miracles happen against all odds. I have experienced the extreme colors of the world. Its violets and horrors.

There is a sense of vanity, I feel, in that.

However, at the end of the day, I want to come back to peace. Like, a Home Base Peace: Find your calm here! 

I am hoping to figure that out this year. While being as adult as I can.

A soul’s made of stories. Not atoms.

Everything that ever happened to us – people we loved, people we lost… people we found again against all odds.

Doctor Who, The Rings of Akhaten

64 thoughts on “Being an Adult is Hard

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