On Maturity & Responsibility

A couple of weeks ago, I turned 25, and since then, I’ve felt super old. I keep on being told that, no, Ian, what are you talking about, you’re not old.

But my brain is weird, and it’s a feeling I haven’t been able to shake. It’s the feeling that, oh my god, I’ve been alive for a quarter century now, and yes, I may have a great job that both pays the bills and fills me with abundant purpose, but what the heck, I still identify as a kid, deep down, on a base identity-level sort of way. And a lot of my life-organization reflects that.

So, a few days after my birthday, I started a morning routine that I haven’t deviated from since: wake up straight to an alarm clock, journal (gratitude, goals, etc.), do some light exercise, eat a high protein/high fiber breakfast, brush teeth, leave.

Since then, I’ve been adding more and more structure to my life: scheduling the hours of my day to maximize my productivity, monitoring what and how much I eat, keeping close track of my finances, etc… all the “responsible” adult things that I’ve known for years that in theory were good, but stuff that I’ve neglected to take any sort of massive action on.

And you know what?

For many years now, having already created circumstances for myself where my basic needs are met (money, food, apartment, car, stable social life, etc.), I’ve always felt a little bit… empty on the inside. (I once heard this great line, don’t remember from where: “when you’re in pain, the meaning of life is obvious. It’s the pain. When you stop coping, though, and you move into thriving, that’s when life can get confusing.)

This sounds totally, totally square, but I’m beginning to feel, in that deep-in-my-nerve-endings sort of way, that maybe some, hell, a lot of life’s capital-m Meaning is in taking control of mundane, day-to-day responsibilities. Which is an idea for some that may seem obvious, but it’s an idea that I feel like not everyone necessarily acts on.

Taking deep responsibility for one’s life is saying: I have this one life. I care about it. I care about me. And because I love myself, I’m going to take the consistent, smart action to make it the best life possible. I will submit myself to responsible structures that will bring me closer to my values and my ideal life, and I will keep to these structures: because I have decided that I am worth it.

I used to scoff at the idea of, for example, deeply scheduling my day, or the idea of creating “gratitude” or “goals” lists. But now I feel very, very deeply that those examples are part of what compose life: responsibility.

That’s it! A big part of the meaning of life is simply: responsibility.

I don’t know if this will resonate with others, but it’s something that I’m going through right now with great euphoric excitement. For the first time in a long time, I’m feeling truly “life-full.” And it’s a personal liberation of sorts. Ultimately, I can control who I am deep down, and when I do, my actions will reflect that.

I’ve made a great start, and I’ve got (hopefully) decades of life to truly Live. Whether I do or not: it’s up to me.

Regardless if you felt this or not, thank you for reading.

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