As a kid, I envisioned adulthood as something very different than reality. Taking charge of my own life, enjoying the freedom, and believing that if I worked hard enough and loved strongly enough, things would eventually work out. The truth is that some days are better than I imagined, but some are worse – terrible even. “I could do without those days,” I think to myself as I listen to ‘Landslide’ and wish I could go back in time for a bit.

The lessons I didn’t like learning when I was a kid like “Life isn’t fair” and “Karma will handle that someday” present themselves regularly and more harshly these days. These lessons require patience within me and with others and kindness all around. So many days go by when I ask, “What is wrong with people?” These are reminders that everything weighs on me if I let it. I know that if I don’t do the work necessary to get through things, it builds heavier and doesn’t end well. But it does end. Until then, I need more of that patience.

I’m currently not-so-patiently waiting out some serious bullying to be over. Caught up in the storm, standing underneath a store awning until the rain lets up just enough to let me run to my car. I am staring at the sky, waiting for a sign. It’s a them-or-us feeling that has put my entire circulatory system on red alert for almost a year. An email notification can automatically trigger a flush feeling that runs through my body in the form of intense anxiety. But the storm will be over soon. I have to hold on a little longer.

One problem is that the “adults” I’m describing are the type of people energized by inflicting pain, bullying and creating chaos by manipulating people and information to serve their purposes. It’s not my first rodeo with people like this. Just because I’ve experienced this type of behavior before doesn’t mean I know how to handle this situation. I don’t want to deal with it now or ever. Is there a magic skip button?

So, let’s dig into this situation. It’s a married couple who works in the law industry at varying levels. They use their professional backgrounds and character traits as threatening weapons against neighbors when they could be used to create a better community for the entire group of us. Let’s call them Couple B.

Couple B is the antagonist in my story; but is it my fault that I allow them to upset me? Yes. I am responsible for my feelings, reactions, behavior and how I use and manage my time. Of course, they will continue behaving in ways that make them and everyone around them miserable; but that should not affect me, my choices and how I live my life.

I remind myself that there’s a source for Couple B’s behavior and it isn’t me. They’re focused on selfish desires; I’m just in their way. I can choose to get out of their way and not fight back; but that would likely put our entire group in a situation where we’re being overrun by unethical people prohibiting the rest of us from doing what is right and fair. So doing nothing is not an option. I could also keep fighting to prove the truth and help everyone move through the turbulence, but at a high cost to my mental and physical health.

I don’t have this problem solved just yet, but I have brought myself through many challenging months to this point of self-awareness. I will not be their victim. I’ll never give them the satisfaction of knowing when they get to me. Their existence in my life and the stresses attached are all temporary, and this will be over eventually. I will persist. I will choose my battles wisely rather than respond to every attack. They are not worth it. I will out-maneuver and outsmart because I’m fueled by doing the right things for all, or as many as possible. Their selfish motivations will lead to their self-destruction. I will come out of this stronger and much further along in adulthood because I faced it head-on with heart, courage and honesty.

Age is just a number; it doesn’t automatically make someone wiser or better. Legally it may decide when you’re an adult, but on almost every other level, how old you are doesn’t make you an adult. It certainly does not make you a good adult. With every day that passes, I recognize that new things happen that can be learned from or ignored and avoided. Life is not always fair, but I find peace in an eternal belief in karma. Everything will be okay someday. Things don’t always work out how we want, but everything always does work out in some fashion. Meditate on that. Ruminate in those thoughts. Lean on that belief and in time we will get through it and be better by it. You do you. I’ll do me. We’ll be each other’s system of checks and balances and all will be right in the world. Please wait for it. Your Couple B’s time will run out on that clock. Be patient with yourself in the meantime.

natalie smith
Natalie Smith is a Philadelphia based Marketing Strategist with over 15 years of digital marketing experience. Her work is focused on helping small businesses level the playing field in visibility and reach. Her passion is to do the same for people from all walks of life. Follow Natalie on all the socials @PaperAirplaning or email her.

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