Penelope Trunk writes the number one career blog in the USA which is why I thought she would be the right person to interview for January, since January is all about work. But let me tell you it was the most painful and healing experience I have ever had. I am very good in reading people within no time, but let me tell you, she is good like no one I have ever met before. She is extremely blunt, she has no time for soft spoken words, she does not have time to really care about your feelings, she just tells you how it is. That is it, deal with it. Honestly, this was the best thing that could have happened to me, I am very much like that as well, so having someone really running it home to you without holding back, can be really intimidating or even feel insulting at the time, but maybe that kick in the butt is just what I really needed.
You think you just interview someone and then this person tells you that you got it ALLLLL so absolutely wrong. And I mean wrong, like wrong wrong.
I feel like I know a lot, but then again I guess I did know nothing about myself. Honestly I guess I knew on some level, but I never really wanted to see it that way.
Ok so let’s start with the interview:
- What is your “Secret of Adulthood”?
Successful people fail! When you are young your parents keep you from failing. But when you grow up then you realise that this is what successful people do – fail!
- Was there been one specific moment that changed the way you feel about yourself?
I realised that when I was 24 years old, that this is it, growing up is a trap, you are trapped for the rest of your life to work really really hard. Those first 24 years of my life lead up to the moment when I realised that this is it. No more, “I fix this when I am an adult” – I realised that I am an adult already. For the rest of my life I am trapped and have to work really hard every day. I can’t say I change when I am an adult, because life is already here. This is it!
I was surprised by that answer, because I wanted to hear something like, giving birth to my first child made me realise that I am grown up now, or losing a parent. But I did not expect to hear something so… intangible. So I asked Penelope whether there was no big event or trauma that changed they way she felt about herself. But there was nothing, here is what she had to say, and slowly it started to sink in:
When there is a trauma, people don’t make big changes, people freeze, they are basically knocked out for one or two years. Changes ONLY happen when you are really really calm, for examples people lose a lot of weight one year after getting divorced. You need a really calm and clear mind to change your life and to change you need to work really really hard EVERY DAY. There is no easy way out, there is no fairy that sprinkles some magic dust on you while you sleep and the next day you wake up and everything is different. This is not how things work, if you want to change anything in life, you have to be calm and work really really hard. Rational people don’t just decide in a split second. (I thought that I had done that, I thought that me leaving my old life was a decision taken within hours, but I had to agree, there were months and months leading up to that event) Breaking up with a boyfriend is never something that just happens, one day you love him and the next you don’t anymore. Rational people don’t ever act like that.
If you really think that you wake up one day and life is different, you will actually never start to do anything. Change comes with torture and hard work. You are normally tortured for days before you break up with someone.
So anyone would tell you:
- What is it like to raise a child: the hardest thing in the world
- What is it like to be married: the hardest thing in the world
- What is it like to run your own company: the hardest thing in the world
–> If you had knows how hard it was going to be, you would have never done any of the above. That is what adult life is about, anything worth doing in an adult life is way too hard!!!!
I mean I was hoping for something more fun. I was hoping that life was also getting easier on some level. And I still feel that way. I still feel that insecurities about myself become less the older I get, which makes life more enjoyable, but I do agree that it is hard work to get to that stage. So here is my next question to her:
- What became easier as an Adult?
NO nothing, I just became easier to wake up every morning to do the hard work, because you are not expecting for anything to get easier. There is no easy easy way out. Adult life sucks!!!
- What is part of being Grown Up? (Spirituality, Sex, Family, Friends, Job, etc)
This question to me seemed to be a good question to ask, because I want to be a well rounded person. Here is what she had to say, and this really made me realise how stupid my question was but you only realise that when you have the answer
Well you know more when you are 20 than where you are 15. You know more when you are 30 than when you are 20 and even more when you are 40, 50, 60, …. – that is just how life is. So the older you get the more you know and there will always be something that holds you back and you have to conquer it. Eventually you will have a problem with your sister at age 50, or you lose your job or a partner. And then you will have to conquer new territory.
She kept on going back to me. She felt that there was something about myself that I needed to resolve. She was not happy with my questions, they did not make a lot of sense to her. I almost felt like I was wasting her time, that she was annoyed at me asking question whose answers were so evident to her. So she kept going back to wanting to know why I wanted to have her opinion about things, and then she became very clear about what she thought about me. And that was really running it home and a bitter pill to swallow.
Growing Up is different for everyone. The question you really have to ask yourself is “What have I been bad at?” - this is what you really have to look into. Some people are still living with their parents, so they have to move out. Some are just reading books day in and out and are experts at something, but really – they need to find a job.
And for you: it is committing to something – because if your don’t you will end up not having NOTHING!!! Stick with it, wake up every morning and do the same thing again, don’t go on holiday, don’t move around, stay with your company, stop this BS Growing Up Project, because that just shows that you are not willing to grow up. Instead of doing this stupid Growing Up Project – GROW UP!!!!! Stop playing around. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS. How old are you? 31 years. So do you want to have kids? Yes! So get yourself out there, find someone to marry and have kids. What you do is wasting your time.
This is when it hit me hard. I have always found myself in relationships with guys that were not very healthy and I eventually always left. I always find lots of faults with things, pick fights and also have guys which have their own issues. Of course that makes it easy to leave. And why did I pick those guys? Because I never wanted to commit – Damn that really ran it home. I am still very confused but I do see why relationships and so many other things in life have never worked out. Because I am too afraid to commit.
Not sure what to do now, or maybe I actually do
PS: BTW, she thought that it was so funnily ridiculous to do a Growing Up Project to Grow Up that she thought of doing her own blog post on it. I know that what she has to say is not going to be nice, but maybe healing.