I remember hearing from my mother and aunts, “Enjoy your youth. Enjoy being young. Enjoy being a child with no responsibilities,” and I would quickly scoff at this wisdom. I would speak softly under my breath about elders, bosses, married women and my parents not understanding my plight, trials and tribulations as a teenager, young adult, college student, law student, single woman…..you name it!
However, my very own life experiences and tests have actually taught me throughout my matriculation as an adult that being a grown up actually does not have to suck.
Let’s run down a laundry list of grown up experiences that MAY suck:
1) Having to work full time just to have no money after paying bills.
2) Working at a job, or for a boss that you actually do not like.
3) Paying taxes.
4) Not being in a meaningful relationship.
5) Not being able to eat whatever you want without gaining weight.
6) Not having children yet.
7) Being passed up for a well-deserved promotion and/or raise.
8) Dealing with sickness.
9) Not getting into the graduate school of your choice.
I have dealt with each and every instance listed above. Believe me when I tell you that those life experiences hurt, some more than others, however, they were all a part of my growing on so many levels. Throughout those sucky experiences, I have grown in my faith, patience, expectations, love and relationships.
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I have worked at a job and for bosses who I did not respect and/or have positive relationships with. I have also been passed up for promotions and raises that were actually offered to me, only to have them never manifest for one reason or the other. I have dealt with several extended stints of unemployment and worry about how I would pay my bills. I have been laid off twice and fired twice since I started working at the age of 15.
The first time I was fired, I worked at Wendy’s during my sophomore in high school. I had great opinions about how ineffective and inefficient my manager was running the business and I voiced those opinions one night when he expected me to work the front register, drive through register and clean the place at the same time. Though I could have been more tactful in my delivery of said opinion, I started to realize at an early age that working for someone else may not be conducive to my temperament. These four experiences, though they sucked, helped to propel me to my ultimate destiny and that is being an entrepreneur and a support system and legal advisor to fellow entrepreneurs.
Additionally, I had my heart broken in a major way at the age of 25 and witnessed girlfriends getting married and engaged while I was putting my life back together. Now let me tell you, being happy and supportive for girlfriends and their relationships while you are mending a broken heart is work! That definitely sucked! But I learned and displayed true friendship to them, the way I knew they would do for me once love returned to me at its ordained and appointed time. (Sidenote: I just got engaged last week on my 35th birthday to a WONDERFUL Black Man and those same friends I supported through my pain have showered me with love and support in such a beautiful way.)
Being a grown up can definitely suck, only if you let it. God willing, we will be grown ups for a very long time and, unfortunately, we may experience circumstances and behavior that may not be exactly what we have envisioned for ourselves. Although we may tend to wallow in the “this sucks” feelings that linger around every corner, the greatest gift you can give to yourself is a positive attitude and outlook that being a grown up is a living testimony of all the great things waiting on you. Nobody told you that being a grown up sucks, because that is not what they wanted for you. Be thankful and grateful that they didn’t speak that into your existence.
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Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.