Adulthood has begun. Again.
It’s not the post-college years, it’s not turning 30. It’s not when you look in the mirror and pluck your first gray hair from your chin, visions of your grandmother’s peach fuzz face flashing before you. No. It’s this – right now! We are all becoming adults, again. But different. And it’s all because of a certain global pandemic currently devastating humanity.
Now, of course, I don’t want this pandemic! No one does! It sucks! People are dying in the hundreds every single day all around the world. It is bad. It is very bad. It will continue to get bad until it feels like we won’t make it through. And then, somehow, despite the depths and the darkness around us, we will.
We are all becoming adults, again. The first time around was a little bumpy. Those post-college years of aimless, faux-confidence. Making bold decisions out of necessity and arrogance. Walking around as the main character in the movie of our life. The Truman Show-esque focus on ourselves as the protagonist. We dated the wrong people. We worked the wrong job, for too long. We made friends. We lost some. We moved a lot. And then somehow we stumbled upon something that looked and felt enough like adulthood that we felt okay looking in the mirror, patting ourselves on the back and saying “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”
We are all becoming adults, again, but a little different. While that self-centeredness is genuinely useful to advocate for yourself professionally, socially, and romantically, it does not serve us in the long run. There is no camera for me to pan towards to perform a Jim Halpert smirk. People are not paying to hear my TedTalk. My Instagram stories are not top-tier content. I’m not about to be discovered.
And that’s good. Because right now, here’s the thing – it’s not about us. Right now, we are gears in a machine, being asked to do one thing to keep that machine running smoothly: stay at home. It’s literally life or death. It’s our duty, as people, to stay at home. A duty, a privilege, a necessity. We are one of billions. A very teeny tiny part of a very big old world.
You are important. It’s important that you know you are, because your life has value. It does. We need you here on this planet. But right now, you are most important because of what you are in that machine. Without you, it fails. Not all of us are health care heroes, grocery store goddesses, the sewers of masks, the cleaners and the keepers of our health. For those of us, the absolute most we can give and do is sacrifice ourselves as a tool for the greater good. Because it’s just not about us right now. It’s about the machine. It’s about participating in something bigger than you. It’s about looking in the mirror and saying “Anna, I love you, but right now, I need to love humanity the most.” Except, you know. With your name.
That’s growing up. This is becoming an adult, again, but better.