When I wake up in the morning
The alarm gives out a warning
I don’t think I’ll ever make it on time.
By the time I got my books and I get myself a look
I’m at the corner just in time to see the bus fly by!
Ahhh, the opening credits to Saved by the Bell. How I can relate to you. I have never been a morning person, and despite the best of intentions, I am not the best at arriving to work on time. In time to get my work done—yes, absolutely! On time by company standards? Not so much.
This character flaw of running late to work is something I have had to wrestle with as an adult. I’ve tried a lot of things—alarm clocks without snooze buttons, automatic coffee machines that attempt to lure me out of bed with the sweet, sweet smell of fresh coffee, showering at night instead of in the morning, cracking my window in the hopes that the noise that more responsible are people are making on the sidewalk guilts me into getting out of bed—you name it, I’ve tried it. Nothing really works.
It may seem that my morning routine isn't such a huge cause for concern, but I've always equated a stable morning routine with being a "real" adult. Like the Saved By The Bell characters, I often still feel like a high-schooler, running around frantically trying to get out the door every morning. I am 33 years old. Surely the concept of “adulting” should have kicked in by now. Right?
It is for all these reasons that the recent Organic Valley commercial highlighting the real morning challenges of working women became my anthem this week. I may not have actually tried the breakfast smoothie they are promoting, but I have lived much of the morning rush depicted in the ad.
The commercial begins with women starting their morning with yoga, and journaling, and leisurely breakfasting—#winning. But then it gets real, and we see women running around doing all the things we have to do to make it outside in the morning, and I just couldn’t stop smiling. THESE women are my people!!
The facts presented in the commercial range from sobering (21 percent of us check our work emails before even getting out of bed. Sigh. Guilty.) to amusing (9 percent of women cite dry shampoo as one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century), but they are all super relatable.
I'll admit that in my mind, being an adult means waking up at approximately the same time every day with no alarm, having a nutritious breakfast while reading the newspaper at the table, being impeccably groomed in weather appropriate clothing, having enough extra time to cuddle with your pet/child/spouse/whatever, before walking out the door, and maybe even extra time to notice and snap a perfectly composed picture of a blooming tree on your way to the car or train.
This fantasy has absolutely no resemblance to my actual morning routine. And by society’s standards, I have been “adulting” for a good decade.
Not to hate on social media (I am a frequent user of Facebook and Instagram, and an occasional Snapchatter), but do I think this societal trend of carefully curating your life online can be damaging to our perceptions of reality. Based on a random day’s perusal of my social media feeds, I am to believe that the majority of my acquaintances are absolutely killing it and then some being successful adult professionals, parents, spouses, citizens, humans. And the thing is—they really are! I am lucky to know many extraordinary people who inspire me with their ability to rule at life. They do have sweet moments with their loved ones, they do cook amazing meals from scratch (or know the best places to order in from), and they do, the majority of the time I am sure, lead photo-worthy lives.
I know this because when it comes down to it, I know that I too have many magical moments with my nearest and dearest, I too can whip up a mean dinner to impress company, I too notice the flowers on my walk to the train, and yes, I too take pictures of all this and post them online. The outside world has no idea about my very un-adult morning routine, because that just isn’t the stuff we brag about.
So I was absolutely tickled to come across this commercial about the morning routines of working women and the discrepancy between the reality of our mornings and the aspirational fiction that prevails. What I recognized in this commercial was a much-needed antidote to my social media feed. It was a reminder that no one ever really feels like they have this whole “adulting” thing down, even when they do.
My morning routine might not be worthy of a Rockwell painting or even a Snapchat, but on most days, I am a great adult. I am succeeding in my chosen field, I have a great fiancé, I pay my bills on time, I am getting better at making vegetables part of each meal, and I may one day even decide to have a kid and teach them how to be perfectly imperfect. And it shouldn’t take a commercial to remind me, or anyone, that nobody can be the perfect adult all the time. We are all winging it to some extent, and we are all doing our best. And that is probably closer to what it truly means to be an adult.