By Kristen Banks
I was lying in bed one morning feeling not quite up to par. I really wished that I didn’t have to get up and go to work. I wished that someone would Poof!, magically appear, and do everything for me, right down to brushing my teeth, putting on my socks for me, and finishing that quilt that really needed to be bound.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my job, and usually it’s a joy to be there. But, when you don’t feel great, your bed is the most exciting place you can imagine being, am I right?
This made me think of a popular term I’ve been hearing lately called ‘Adulting.’ I keep hearing people making statements like, “I really don’t think I can adult today.” Which I thought was funny the first time I heard it. Because, some days not only do I not want to adult, I don’t even want to human. I’d rather curl up beside the cat and spend the day napping in the sunshine.
I thought this term was funny until I realized that some people were actually serious about ‘not adulting.’ Now, back in my day, we simply called ‘adulting’ being mature or responsible. Being a grown-up is hard even on a good day, and you don’t always get to do the things that you like or even want to do. A big part of being an adult is just getting up every day, handling it, and doing what needs to be done whether you feel like it or not. Because, well, people depend on you and that’s what mature and responsible adults do.
When I was a little gir,l I thought adults were mysterious and fascinating. They could go anywhere they pleased and do whatever they wanted to do. They didn’t seem limited by height, age, or ability like I was. And I couldn’t wait to grow up and be one. But you might find it funny to know that I wasn’t quite sure exactly who were adults, and who were not.
Naturally I would have considered my parents to be adults, but what about the girls that babysat me from time to time? They were almost as tall as my Mom, and I knew I was supposed to obey them, but somehow they just didn’t seem the same to me. I learned to pick up on one small clue that could help me decipher this mystery.
Adults smelled like coffee, which was actually rather unattractive to my 5-year-old nose at the time. If someone smelled of Columbian roast beans I could be 100 percent sure that they were in fact a grown up, and I probably better mind my P’s and Q’s around them. I still wasn’t quite sure where to categorize teenagers, but one thing for certain was they weren’t quite adults.
Which led to further ponderings in my immature child sized brain like, “Why did adults even like coffee so much?” I couldn’t figure out why it was so important to them, and why they drank it by the gallons. Didn’t they know that A: it stunk, and B: it probably tasted worse than it smelled?
And to add insult to injury, anytime I would voice these opinions to an adult they would just shake their head, laugh at me, and walk away. The whole morning coffee routine was this mysterious and perplexing ritual that I just didn’t get. After all, I had plenty of energy when I woke up, and I didn’t need a yucky drink that looked and probably tasted like dirty muddy water to help me get through my day.
When I finally did grow up, I found that the real world wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. Although I had more options than I did when I was a kid, this new found freedom and ability also came with a lot of responsibility. While I’d probably rather spend most days sleeping late, shopping, piecing quilts, and eating at fancy restaurants, I actually spend a lot of days getting up before dawn, paying bills, washing dishes, and grabbing a package of peanut butter crackers between binding quilts. For those that don’t know, binding a quilt is one of the least fun tasks of all in quilt making.
Being an adult isn’t always glamorous. In fact, sometimes it’s bitter, and actually kind of stinks. The sweetness comes in the satisfaction of knowing that you stepped up and did the things that needed to be done, whether you felt like it or not. It feels good to know that people depend on you and that you’re doing your best to not let them down. And you were able to get up this morning, and make it through yet another day. Because no matter how unsavory things might seem right now, you’re still here, and there’s always hope that tomorrow will be better, as long as you stick it out, and hang in there.
And as far as those quilt bindings go, because I know that’s one of those things that we all dread and put off doing, sometimes you just have to suck it up and do them. You will feel guilty and unaccomplished as long as they’re sitting there folded up in the corner unfinished. But, no matter how many hours it takes, the moment you put that final stitch in you will feel the greatest sense of accomplishment knowing that although it was boring and hard, you got the job done.
And just a side note, I’ve actually come up with a good way to make this boring and monotonous task a little bit fun. Every adult knows the value of a little peace and quiet, and every adult knows it’s pretty hard to come by. So, if you’d like to enjoy some “me time” while getting your work done, just give your family The Look, the one you give them when you say, “I better not ever catch you using my fabric scissors on paper… EVER.” And tell them you’re binding a quilt, it’s very important, and you can’t be disturbed for a while. Then go into your room, close the door, and turn on a little music.
This week I listened to Mercy Me Traces of Rain Volume 2 while binding a king sized T-shirt quilt. It was very peaceful and therapeutic just listening to the hum of the machine and enjoying being alone with my thoughts, and one of my favorite albums. For the first time, I actually started to look forward to this normally arduous task. And it wasn’t hard at all, because I enjoyed the experience so much that I felt like I had that quilt bound in no time.
So, whether it’s quilting or in life, don’t be afraid to face the hard stuff. It may not seem fun at the time, but you will feel better about yourself and life in general when you do what you know needs to be done. I’ve also found that there are things that can help get you through the tough parts along the way, whether it’s a strong cup of coffee, some good music, a thankful heart, or a prayer, there’s always a little help or encouragement available to help you make it to the finish line. And when you get there, be sure and savor your reward of satisfaction. Because, whether you know it or not you are ‘adulting’ perfectly, and winning at life.