Betwixt and Between

Truth - I have no idea what my post-college version of adulthood will be. I can identify bits and pieces of what my version of adulthood might look like but other than that I'm lost without a guide to help me on my way. There are no waypoints, no path markers, or points of interests to show me who or where I should be. Am I grown up enough? Do I act appropriately for me age? Will I be taken seriously? I'm betwixt and between. 
"You think that adulthood will hit and you'll suddenly be more capable. But that doesn't happen, ever, does it?" Sally Hawkins
My entire conceptualization of adulthood has always been skewed because I never say myself becoming one. I guess I always imagined it to be this point of arrival and knowing that I could be self-sufficient or contribute positively to society. In actuality it's not a single place that you come or even a state of being but rather a lifelong journey. To be quite honest, I still have no idea what it means to be an adult but what I do know is that I am definitely nothing of the sort. In fact more and more I resonate with the sentiment that when you think you know, you actually know nothing I have my moments where I could be perceived as such but personally I have this cognitive dissonance when it comes to imagining myself as one. In my head I cannot fathom that others think of me as a responsible person. Like when toys or activities require "adult supervision" that could be me, but I would be looking for someone else.
Slowly but surely, I'm coming to terms with my newfound transition to adulthood but I don't think I'll ever fully embrace it. I'm also realizing each day that it's okay to be scared. I don't know what maturity looks like, at least for me, but at the same time I do. It shows up in making tough decisions, supporting others, and taking responsibility for my words, actions, and impact. I feel like it implies giving up your childhood and I know for sure that children are hands down the most powerful people on the planet.  It must be possible to grow up like society needs me to but also retain my youth, curiosity, and innovation that has served me for so long. I'm in this liminal existence. I'm finished with college and have yet to start graduate school. I'm betwixt and between.

My summer adventure consists of orientation, navigating my transition into something that resembles a professional, and adjusting relationships. I never would have thought that the first one would be crucial in helping me tackle the other two but it has been absolutely essential. This past weekend was session one of orientation in welcoming the class of 2019 to the University of Vermont. I had only slept two hours but heading down to breakfast at 6:45 with the rest of the staff had me beaming. I was so excited. I couldn't contain myself. I felt like a big brother watching his younger siblings tap into their full potential and achieve greatness. It was an emotional morning and I noticed it from the get go.

 I wasn't nervous or excited for me but rather for them. All I wanted for the new orientation leaders was to see what I have been able to see from our first training, that they could no only do it but be marvelous at it. We had our morning pump up and group sentiments (#2Shades forever) before heading off on our respective missions. I was aiding with family check-in and there I was able again to witness people demonstrating their gifts. The cheeriness, efficiency, innovation, and most of all patience and compassion displayed by the staff placed there was a real sight to see. You cannot teach people those things, that comes from their hearts. We just flowed and figured it out as we went. People asked questions, were interdependent, and affirmed one another as we went on. Soon it was on to the welcome and the rest of the day. I knew it already, and could feel it. This was how I would unravel my adulting conundrum, betwixt and between, the organized chaos of orientation.

Lunch saw some serious problem solving and rolling with the punches as the wind blew, things had to be moved around, and we dealt with the novelty of the food layout. Feisty family members, confused students, and anxious OLs combined to create something that could been less than desirable but just as soon as problems arose they were solved. And that's how the day just went, segment after segment, was people demonstrating immense kindness, true poise, and consistent ideation. I ended up back at the info desk tackling bag making for a solid three hour respite before doing the absolute most on the dance floor at the block party. Our community could be felt all around me. The knowing looks, the high-fives, hugs, smiles, and the checking in happened so naturally. It was unreal. Night fell and I came back drenched in sweat from dancing too hard but getting some quality time with students and OLs doing schedule help. I was tasked with facilitating the raffle and eventually curfew came but I couldn't leave without sharing some leftover pizza with hungry orientees. I knew I didn't have to but I wanted to and knowing I could do something to add to their experience was reason enough to do so. I hit my bed ready to pass out and found myself thinking back with pride grin at all the selfless things I had witnessed or heard team members do. If this was what my next step of adulthood consisted of, advising, assisting, and interacting with people like this, then I was more than ready to do it.

Bright and early I arose, showered, dressed up, and bolted to the library. One thing after the other went wrong but those who were on the outside never would have known. Our team just dealt with it all like it wasn't our first time. Above and beyond is what I saw from them and I nothing but impressed. Course registration help, triaging family members, and giving directions rounded out my morning. I was exhausted physically but I didn't feel it because of the uplifting atmosphere the team had created. My afternoon was spent with check-out, making bags, and making the rounds through rooms. Slap happy laughter, little digs, and all the foolish antics in between made up that time. It was time for our staff meeting and we were all beyond done. I knew I had to say something but I knew I didn't want to invalidate people's feelings of tiredness. I let empathy guide me in my words and asked that we brought the energy for another half hour and it was wonderful. The space was nothing sort of awe-inspiring. Team debriefs, dinner, and we were done. We did it. One session down with five more to go. It was through this experience that I knew that I could show up in the ways I wanted for my career while still retaining my individual essence.

What makes me happiest is that I still felt like me because I was me. I didn't have to be any different than who I already was. I may be going to graduate school but I'll still be able to bring my own version of professionalism to all that I do. I know for me it looks like support, cheer, morale boosting, and conversation. I'm still a work in progress, and am pretty sure I always will be but for now I'm content. Even working and keeping up my relationships has not been as difficult as I had pictured. Those that matter most to me will remain as such as long as I make the effort. The effort will always be worth it, betwixt and between the daily randomness of life. X


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