I always thought growing up was all about being responsible. That’s how I was raised. But what I didn’t get until recently was that being responsible and taking responsibility for your actions are not always the same thing.
You can be responsible by doing your homework. Or taking out the trash when you’re asked to. Or having less to drink at a party because you know that sixth shot of tequila is going to send you straight into disaster.
Taking responsibility for your actions comes in when you screw up. When there is no one around to tell you what to do. When you make your own decisions and when those are crappy ones. Being an adult is sometimes drinking too much, waking up the next morning not knowing where you are and what you’ve done, but instead of burying your face under the blankets, reflect on your experience and make the next step.
We can’t turn back time. What we can do, though, is decide not to run away anymore. Being an adult means confronting what’s ahead of you. It might be your fears. It might be the work you have to do. It might be the person you have a problem with.
And running away can take oh so many forms. We run away when we decide to go out and drink ourselves into oblivion only not to think about the problems we have to face. We run away when we sit in front of the TV for several hours straight, hoping to lose ourselves in a parallel universe where our problems (work, boyfriend, boss, argument) don’t exist anymore. We run away when we procrastinate in any way instead of doing our job.
Because confronting stuff is scary. What if I don’t succeed? What if he or she will laugh at me? What if I’m not good enough? What if I don’t have to time to finish what I know I should start? This last one is the worst. How often do we procrastinate because we fear that the work we’ll do in the amount of time we have won’t be enough? How often do we drop things just because we imagine we can’t possibly do them?
I’ve realized that although I am a responsible person, I am often running away from confrontation. Because I fear that the outcome won’t make me happy, though I don’t even try. But success only comes to those who try.
So the best thing to do is to take baby steps. Concentrate on the task you’re doing while you’re doing it. Don’t think of the outcome. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Others are here for that. Don’t think about what tomorrow will look like. Take short breaks. Give your undivided attention to your breaks the same as you do for your work.
Be in the moment. Be true to yourself.