There are 15,000 reasons to worry about the profitability of your business first and everything else second. Yes, your kids need shoes and college keeps getting more expensive. Yes, you want life insurance and health insurance. Yes, you want a retirement account and…yes. Yes yes yes yes yes. I understand. I do.
That makes you think you should ignore your deepest and most creative work for the sake of doing urgent stuff like getting the oil changed, putting the laundry away, or paying the bills on time. Please, complete your urgent work. But this is not an either/or situation.
Your taking care of these gifts you’ve been given does not render you incapable of managing your obligations.
Don’t let the Adultopus take you under. YES, you are past the age where you get to be footloose and fancy-free like your 14-year-old self. Yes, you have responsibilities. You don’t have to do them like Eeyore, as if the world depends on your not enjoying them. Nor do you have to hoist them onto your shoulders and carry them for the next hundred miles or hundred years, whichever comes last.
You can choose to wear your responsibilities lightly. Yes, you have to feed yourself and keep a roof over your head and somehow keep your life from imploding.
The Adultopus wants you to panic:
OF COURSE that’s impossible.
NO, you can’t do that.
JUST. STOP IT.
The Adultopus wants you to put down the paintbrushes. Stop writing, stop teaching, stop being so silly and get back to work. The Adultopus wants your house to be spotless, your thigh gap to be larger, and your life to look like a magazine spread while your soul shrivels into a puddle in the corner.
In other words: the Adultopus wants you to freak out, take on a little water, and then resign yourself to going under.
This is hopeless, might as well give up. Might as well stop trying, might as well stop doing the work that calls to me, might as well try making more money doing this other thing because that seems safest.
The churning creature that is being an Adult-with-a-capital-A in modern society doesn’t want you to wake up and say, “Wait. I don’t have to drown. This is bullshit.”
Turns out, you can stand up in this water. You can put your feet on the bottom of the ocean and walk away from the Adultopus. Most people don’t.
They chase MORE like it’s oxygen, like the only way to escape the briny tentacles of the Adultopus is to buy it off in some sort of underwater deal involving a six-figure salary and a new car lease signed once every 12 months.
You can stand up. You can walk away from the ruckus.
You can be a grown-up instead of an adult. You can manage your obligations and then do whatever the fuck you’d like with the rest of your time each day. You can shop for groceries while pretending the cart is engaged in a Nascar race. You can splash around in paints while your dinner is in the oven. You can declare it swimsuit bathing time and throw the whole family into the tub at once like some sort of awkward underwater circus side show instead of spending 2 hours on the nightly taking-baths chore.
Grown-ups are capable of enjoying any task. Adults are not.
You have to be a grown-up, by virtue of being over the age of 18. You do not have to be an Adult. Not ever, not once, do you have to take on the heavy yoke of What Society Says Must Happen.
Please, please don’t let the Adultopus win.
More about the Adultopus and your constant creative companions in my favorite ever ever EVER episode of That’s What She Said — give it a listen below.