A Course in Adulthood

My husband Artur is one of the wisest people I know. He’s almost never afraid. He actively seeks the most challenging thing to be done, and then does this. When there’s a car engine to be replaced, he replaces the engine. When there’s a feature in WordPress that is missing, he creates it all by himself.

This is just how he is.

Artur is also extremely unhelpful when I try to understand how exactly he’s doing it. I might as well ask a fish about water. What is water? If you’re immersed in it and know no other reality, how are you supposed to explain what it’s like?

Unlike my husband, I am no fish. This state of being isn’t natural to me. Instead of going for the hardest things to be done, I’d rather lock them in a cupboard and never look at them again. For years I was depressed and drunk all the time, tried to soothe and punish myself with food, and sabotaged my happiness and growth in other spectacular ways.

Artur almost never does any of such things. Why would he? It is just plain stupid to get shitfaced drunk, when you can take an honest look at the problem and solve it immediately, right?

I don’t know what makes someone turn out one way or another

But I know people like him are rare. All of my friends growing up were depressed and miserable, crippled with fear and insecurity. If we had superpowers like his from the start, how much easier our lives would have been!

Too bad he can’t help when I ask what makes him so special. He seriously has no idea. Usually when he tries to explain his perspective I’m feeling slightly offended, he’s getting impatient and stops, until many months and several books later I explain to him what I’ve learned.

Every time this happened so far, he summarized all the ideas I was so excited about in two sentences like it’s the most obvious thing on Earth. Well, he’s been trying to explain this for months–if only he knew how to speak my language!

Luckily there are people who know this and can speak my language

I never knew how much I needed them, until I signed up for a course from Future Thinkers. As a part of their membership we get to chat on video every week, share our achievements, challenges, advice, and emotional support.

This is the best advice and support I ever got, because these are people who know how to talk about transformation. They can speak both my language and Artur’s, and translate. They know exactly where I’m starting at and where I want to go. They’ve been down here before, and they know the way out.

Calls with Future Thinkers were my lifeline during long gloomy evenings in recent months. For the first time someone told me it’s perfectly normal to feel down and low on energy when the sunshine gets scarce. So you’re telling me I don’t have to fix that? What a relief! It was still challenging, but knowing this is normal helped me stop fighting it, and made the whole experience infinitely easier.

I wish I could learn from my husband directly

But his way of living isn’t something one can learn. You can only get there by removing all the things that stand between you and the world, all the stupid ideas that someone put once in your head.

“If I don’t do it perfectly, this will mean I’m a failure.”

“I’m a terrible person who will never achieve anything.”

“I should be guilty and ashamed of myself.”

Excuse me, but… what the actual fuck?

Whose thoughts are even these?

Artur almost never thinks this kind of thoughts. Why would he? It’s just plain stupid and obviously not true, right?

Yet somehow I have all these weird ideas now in my head, and they affect how I see and interact with the world. I didn’t choose any of these thoughts just like Artur didn’t choose not to have any. I can either keep hiding them away in the cupboard, or muster all the courage that I have, take one out at a time, see how plain stupid it is, and let go.

Rewrite your story daily. This is what it is, this is how transformation works. Just think of one thing that scares you, take an honest and courageous look at it, and keep looking until you know the truth. Then you can take a look at the next thing, and the next, and the next.

It’s simple, but this doesn’t mean it is easy

The things that scare me are, well, I must say, pretty scary. At one point I wasn’t sure if I’d come out of this alive. I thought I’d have to quit my job cause it was all just too much to bear.

But knowing people who have been there, and having their advice and support, I was able to surrender and let the whole experience just unfold as it is.

And then for the first time I kinda understood how my husband sees the world.

It wasn’t easy, but it was totally worth it

I know I can take care of myself at this point. I still have a whole lot to learn, and some of these things will be ugly, scary, and outright unpleasant. This is fine. I know I can handle this. I already can’t believe how hard it must have been to go through life without this certainty.

A part of me wants to celebrate that I’ve achieved something special. I’ve certainly come a long way from where I was even a year ago. But relating to life directly, and working with reality as it is rather than with how I wish it to be isn’t special. It’s just being an adult who can take care of herself.

Artur didn’t have an easy life. He had to grow up very fast and take care of the family business, debt, and his mom when he was barely 18. I have no idea how he managed to do that.

But sooner or later, we all get to grow up, or at least I think we should try. It’s no fun walking around with some crazy ideas in your head that make you feel constantly afraid. Better to face them head-on, and burn all that shit down, until it’s no longer blocking your vision.

And even better than this, is when you do it with friends.

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