When I was a kid, maybe around the age of ten, I remember making plans for my future self. They weren’t necessarily realistic, but to my ten-year-old-self, they were completely real. I had plans drawn up for how we were going to redesign, refurnish, redecorate the house that I was living in at the time. I loved that house (I somehow have an odd attachment to material things) and I loved that city, it was home.
So, my best friend and I decided that we would live there forever. No, not just the two of us… Our husbands would live there with us. We would have one giant room (the master bedroom was humongous) and we would put up a wall so that we could both share that room with our husbands. We also had plans for a pet room and for our kids to share bedrooms and whatnot.
Not only did we have decorative plans for this house that our husbands would share with us, we also had plans for the neighborhood. We would buy the houses next door for my parents and my brother. Then we would buy a few more houses on the block for our friends. And we would probably have a swimming pool, trampoline, and treehouse. Plus, we would both be veterinarians or art teachers or something…
Slightly more realistic: At one point in my life I thought “I really think I could pay off all my student debt in just a year or two.” That was probably the least educated thing I’ve ever said (see my post on my debt calculator experience). Possibly even worse than the I’m-going-to-own-an-entire-city-block-and-share-my-house-with-my-best-friend-and-her-husband-and-family-and-a-room-full-of-like-fifty-cats idea.
Step 5: Set reasonable goals for yourself
This is one of the hardest goals to have when starting to Adult. The problem is: dreaming big is in our nature. It’s our child-like selves that dream big and imagine all of these huge things that we could one-day do. Our child-like selves are creative, imaginative, hopeful, excited.
Our adult-selves are logical. As adults, we look at these, see the unrealistic, and decide we might as well just stay where we are. We set lower expectations, we stop dreaming, stop hoping. Or at least, that’s what people think you have to do when you’re an adult.
My wife (yes, not husband. My 10-year-old-self was wrong there too) was explaining to me one day about the three minds. We have the emotion mind, the reason mind, and the wise mind. There’s a great comedian who explains these well in a song-like-skit that I totally recommend because he’s hilarious. His name is Bo Burnham and you can purchase one of his comedy shows (with this specific skit) on Amazon here:
The emotion mind is like my 10-year-old-self. Dreams big, doesn’t really care about logic, sticks to doing things based on an emotional attachment, that sort of thing. The reason mind is more your logic side. This is like the adult-self that we all think of: logical, not emotional, reasons well. These are the two minds people think of and this is what Bo Burnham describes so well.
But there’s a third option (which Bo ends his skit with) and it’s called the wise mind. The wise mind is when the two come together to create a perfect unity – this is when you go to problem solving. You don’t think about logic alone and you don’t focus on your emotions alone, but you put them together to create solutions that work.
I think that’s what adulting really is, if you think about it. It’s taking your child-like self and your adult-like self and putting them together.
What are reasonable goals you have for yourself? Share them in the comments below!
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