There is a term commonly used by people my age called ‘adulting’. In an age of perpetual adolescence it often comes as a rude shock when we all of a sudden are expected and required to do ‘adult’ things. Often we look for an adult who is better at ‘adulting’ than use, someone who can teach us how to adult.
This phrase essentially means doing things that most adults have been doing for decades: sorting out tax and super, taking responsibility for your actions, remembering to water the plants (and frantically trying to hide the evidence when you forget to water said plants) etc.
The truth about being a paramedic is that it’s rarely guts and glory. It’s not car accidents and heart attacks. Most of the time, it’s simply helping people ‘adult’: looking after people who have run out of coping mechanisms for common everyday problems.
Think of that chest infection which has become just a little too much, the Nanna who’s fallen and isn’t strong enough to pull herself up.
Don’t get me wrong, when it’s bad, it’s really bad. Two colleagues both had jobs on the same day where patients had attempted suicide with hanging or eating a shotgun and both of them were still alive…. surrounded by their traumatised families. Another has spent the last 2 days flying in the freezing cold in a helicopter with the doors open trying to spot the body of a 20 year old who went missing near water.
But in reality, that’s the minority of our work.
The truth is when you talk to anyone, nobody really believes they’ve got it all together. I’ve never met anyone who things that they are successfully adulting. Nor have I met a paramedic who truly doesn’t get affected by the bad jobs.
So here I am, in my 6 week induction process following uni graduation in the new job, and instead of flying lights and sirens to a little kid with a spinal injury, I’m trying my best to successfully stay awake as I sift through these things called salary packaging, superannuation funds (which rather disgustingly, provide no super powers whatsoever) and effectively budget time and money for bills and lifestyle.
Despite friends telling me how exciting life must be in this new place with this crazy job, I’m barely keeping my head above water.
Because no matter how exciting someone else’s life may appear to be, or how much of an adultier adult you think they are, usually,
they’re just doing their best to get by.
We’re all just trying to adult. What makes each of us special is what we choose to do with our lives in that time.