We’re doing adulthood differently these days. Are you in or are you out?
You see, there’s an archetype of the adult that is dying its death as we speak.
If you’re in that archetype, as you get older, you stop trying new things. You stop sitting on the floor. You stop doing things for the fun of it. You stop playing in the carefree truest sense of the word.
You think that a part of ‘getting older’ is to develop aches, pains, and injuries. You are the person who starts “slowing down”.
You start becoming serious as your default mode. You start guarding. You start shrinking. You close up, leaving the ‘expanding’ to the youth of this world.
And you accept that this is the way adulthood goes.
This is the Compressed Adult archetype.
But there’s someone who bucks that archetype.
Maybe it’s you…
You’ve sensed that it just can’t be true. You feel something inside of you resisting the fade society tells you should happen to your body, your spirit, your energy, simply because you put another candle on the birthday cake.
If so, then welcome to modern adulting. It’s an option for you now and it’s blasting the old archetype to smithereens.
Because you refuse to march along with that feeling inside of you and say “oh well, I’m an adult now.”
Modern adulting is a way of living and it’s available to you, if you choose.
I started using the term ‘modern adulting’ (though I certainly did not coin it) to describe all this stuff I do in life that bucks the standard tradition of what ‘adults are supposed to do’. A friend would ask about something I’d posted on my social media, and after a long-winded explanation of how I don’t think I should be limited just because my age is ticking upward, I’d conclude with a shrug and a simple “modern adulting…what can I say?”
Think about it, the world has changed…there was ‘fun’ for adults in decades past, but it was standard, basic, “keep it on the road” kind of stuff.
Today? Not only can you go “off road” as far as you want, you can flip the car over, set it on fire, and trek off into the depths of the pathless forest in search of the next thing you wish to experience for yourself.
The Expansive Adult archetype is replacing the old, outdated, Compressed Adult archetype.
In previous decades, if you were into doing adventurous things, you were probably the only one you knew who did those adventurous things. And you were probably called “goofy” or “weird”.
Today – you are not alone. I regularly go bouldering at the same time as two dudes who are in their mid-60’s who just picked the sport up….five years ago.
Years ago, if you played sports as an adult, you probably chose a rec league for whatever sport you played in high school. You didn’t start something brand new.
Today – you pick up powerlifting, or fencing, or hand-balancing, if that intrigues you. The Masters’ Division of competition for non-traditional sports is growing every year.
And as recently as a few years ago, you didn’t do gymnastics or obstacle course racing as an adult. You just didn’t.
Today – you can do it all, at any age. The world is different now and that means it’s game on, man. Game. On.
These are a handful of the things you have readily accessible to you right now –
- Coloring books for adults
- Obstacle course races and training gyms for adults
- “Movement play”, aka, rolling around in the grass at the park as an adult
- Gymnastics for adults
- Taking up a brand new sport as an adult
- Traveling with friends or solo, sleeping in tents, not showering for days, as an adult
- Riding dirtbikes as an adult
- Expressing yourself in any which way you please – glitter tattoo on your arm as a adult? Sure.
- Playing, so much playing as an adult
It’s not about being the wildest adult out there, though you could make that your mission.
Modern adulting is about the energy you pursue your life with.
It’s about being capable of holding space for handling adult-y stuff and still holding space for play, adventure, joy, and silliness.
It’s about noting the Resistance that you feel around trying something new and expanding yourself – and doing it anyways.
It’s about demolishing the old beliefs that you can’t learn new things, totally change yourself, or dye your hair purple after a certain age.
Too often, adult-y stuff shows up as time goes by. You do less and less. You get more and more serious. You go longer and longer without moving, thinking, or playing in a brand new way. Your body starts rebelling. Your soul feels a little more squished. And you just figure, “adulthood”.
But adulthood doesn’t have to be done that way anymore…
You have so much free play time accessible to you.
You can use as much carefree exuberance as you wish.
You have permission to do it just for the fun of it.
So which do you choose?
The antiquated archetype of the Compressed Adult…
Or modern adulting as an Expansive Adult.
If you choose modern adulting, express it publicly. Let others who want to be Expansive Adults see you in action. It can be scary to start showing that True Nature of yours if you’ve been keeping it under wraps, but I promise you, living an authentic, expansive, life is as inspiring to someone else as it is joyful to you.
And if you’re on social media, share a post of you engaging in Expansive Adult stuff, and tag it #modernadulting
To quote the classic poem from Dylan Thomas, “do not go gentle into that good night.”