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Explain to me how to be an adult please...

(14 Posts)
HalfInLoveWithElizabeth Thu 23-Feb-17 20:45:31

Separated from STBXH 9 months ago - no huge crisis just a gradual, sad grinding to a halt over about three years. Still very traumatic, telling the DCs (7 and 9), moving to new living arrangements and all the other shit that goes along with.

In the last 9 months I have gone a bit off the rails, partly as a reaction to the trauma of the split and partly because of the sense of release. I fell deeply in love with someone completely unavailable which inevitably ended in heartbreak and then had a short but passionate fling with someone else. I have got a mad new hobby, which has brought a lot of great new friends with it - started revisiting the things I loved when I was younger and recently tried internet dating (it was a disaster).

But the thing that I have just realised in the last couple of days is that none of this stuff and nobody else is going to rescue me from dealing with the day-to-day business of being me. I think I thought that I could catapult myself into a new life just by running hard enough at it. I'm 38 and have been with STBXH 16 years. I've never tried to be an adult on my own. I get that I've got to do it, I just don't know how.

Has anyone else had this feeling? How do you start working out who you are at a sensible pace and without behaving like a 16 year old on speed?

NotTheFordType Thu 23-Feb-17 20:58:04

OK. What do you need to do#? Whats most pressing?.

MoggieMaeEverso Thu 23-Feb-17 21:07:56

What parts of being an adult? Do you mean a sort of generalised "taking responsibility for oneself" feeling, or are you looking for help with specific, practical things?

HalfInLoveWithElizabeth Thu 23-Feb-17 21:09:53

I don't think it is the practical bit I am struggling with, more the sense that I don't know what I want, what I like, who I am or what I want to do. I think I was expecting a new person or a new interest to sweep me along with them, in the past that's what has happened. It is hard to describe how I feel now. Sort of at sea I suppose. I wondered if anyone had been through a similar thing.

MoggieMaeEverso Thu 23-Feb-17 21:16:41

Ah, that makes perfect sense! I'm in a similar place for different reasons - I never thought of it as "not knowing how to be an adult" but I do often home that I don't know what I want to be when I grow up (I'm pushing 40!)

I wish I could be helpful but unfortunately I'm just starting to see some glimmers at the end of the tunnel.

I'm trying to focus on getting in touch with my inner voice and listening to my intuition, rather than stressing about what I want to do or comparing myself to others.

That sounds a bit woolly doesn't it!

HalfInLoveWithElizabeth Thu 23-Feb-17 21:24:13

I quite often start a sentence with, "When I grow up..." :-)

I'd just like to feel grounded and sensible and self-aware and sure of myself (as I assume adults do...)

It is nice to hear that someone gets where I am coming from though. Glad to hear the tunnel has glimmers at the end of it!

MillyMoo1113 Thu 23-Feb-17 21:24:29

I'm in a similar place too, 40, split with stbxh 8 months ago, having been together 18 years, and have two teenagers.

Currently "seeing" a much younger man, he's lovely, but I know it's nothing serious though we are having fun but like you, I'm not sure what I actually want, or who I really am.

I think I know I should be on my own for a while and be happy with myself, which I think I am, but I am also going to start counselling next week to go through various things to stop me being on the emotional rollercoaster I currently feel I am on

I can offer support but no answers am afraid, but I think you do need to take some time to think about what you want, but enjoy yourself if you can at the same time

Rarity75 Thu 23-Feb-17 21:28:55

I'm 41 and still waiting to feel like a 'grown up'. I think of my parents at this age and they seemed so old! I think what you are feeling is lost in yourself. I was a single parent at 37 I also went off the rails. It takes time, be kind to yourself, find what gives you joy (and that isn't the next bloke). Because when you find who you are and how you tick you will be far more likely to find an equal partnership. Enjoy being you and enjoy your lovely dc's! smile

Toffeelatteplease Thu 23-Feb-17 21:29:58

Actually I do kinda know exactly what you mean.

For me I started with a bucket list. I knew realistically travel abroad was out for me so I ran with things in the UK I could get to and do with children. Over the last ten years if tried to do at least one a year (DS has SN which make things harder). So start with thinking about things you would like to see or do and that are realistically possible. Give yourself a realistic time frame for doing them or one of them in.

I also sat down and looked at where I wanted to be in 5 years time. They were mostly goals to do with where I was living,what I wanted for the kids and what I wanted for me. They must be realistically achievable. Then I worked back to what I had to do to make that happen in two years time one years time and a months time. It took me a little longer than 5 years in the end, there were times when some didn't look achievable at all, but mostly I made it.

I try once a year to do something solo that makes me excited. I did it more frequently at the start (when kids went to theyre dads) and they weren't always successful while I worked out what I still enjoyed and didn't.

Be kind to yourself. It's OK to stop and think I'm in actually enjoying this. Conversely you might find your revisiting stuff from your marriage and find you still enjoy it now, more than you did in fact.

RedAndYellowStripe Thu 23-Feb-17 21:39:18

I started with my job actually, looking at what I would really like doing rather than I was irvwhat i was supposed to do.
Spending time thinking about my strengths, what I enjoyed e plus doing some personality test actuality helped me getting a sense of who I am.

I then carried that on to other sorts of my life, lookingvat what is important for me (ethically, spiritually, emotionally etc). That incl my relationship, hobbies etc... as well as generally how I'm living my life.
It has also being about what sort of meaning life is, what it is about and what do I want to achieve with it rather than being taken away by it like a boat down a river iyswim
I have learnt one thing though. I don't know of any adult who is constantly grounded, sensible and self aware. All of that is always ongoing work and required daily effort. It's a nice target to have though smile

HalfInLoveWithElizabeth Thu 23-Feb-17 21:42:38

Yes, I think whilst I was in the middle of the 'things' with the two blokes (not at the same time I hasten to add) it covered for the fact that I didn't know what I was doing. 'Lost in myself' is a good description.

I relate to a lot of what you say MillyMoo. I have been doing some counselling but mostly I talk about why I can't find the person or thing that will sort this all out for me! My counsellor will be pleased the next time she sees me :-)

One of the things that coming out of the other side of the craziness has done is made me realise how much I miss my kids when they are with their dad. We co-parent 50/50, which is the right thing to do but bloody hard. I think I feel more grown up when I'm being a parent, so the time without them is difficult to manage.

Cricrichan Thu 23-Feb-17 21:43:47

It sounds to me like you're an adult. You're a responsible adult who's got the freedom to have some fun without worrying about finding someone to have kids with or pleasing anyone other than yourself and your kids. Enjoy !

HalfInLoveWithElizabeth Thu 23-Feb-17 21:48:53

Thanks Toffeelatte and RedandYellow, maybe breaking it down is where I need to start - attainable goals. I definitely need to pace myself sensibly and take one step at a time, I have been running before I can walk.

Your story is really inspiring Toffeelatte, I'm so glad you got to where you wanted to be :-)

HalfInLoveWithElizabeth Thu 23-Feb-17 21:57:27

And maybe I need to revise my view of what being an adult is all about RedandYellow and Cricrichan!

I know deep down that most people are not as sorted as they appear to be, but I admire people who know what they want and don't bother with things that don't fit into that category. I've spent my life to date trying to please other people and no longer know what pleases me.

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