YOU DON'T HAVE TO MAKE IT LOOK SO EASY

…in fact, it’d be better for all of us if you didn’t.

I’ll never forget the day I failed my learner’s permit test. My Dad let me take the morning off of school, and drilled me with practice questions all the way to the DMV. I’d even spent an extra hour perfecting my hair and make-up for my permit photo that morning, confident I had this thing in the bag.

Now, I knew I hadn't aced the test, but when I refreshed my computer screen and saw bright red, my heart sank. Okay, but seriously… Who knew you shouldn’t put on your high beams to try and see through thick fog?!

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We drove back to school and I immediately headed to Mrs. Bearden’s Algebra 2 class. I slunk into my desk, and with a knot in my throat, tried to focus on how to graph a linear equation. Another thing I could never really seem to understand, but that seems like a story for a different day.

Enter Alex, my classmate, who just so happened to have taken his permit test that morning too. Alex took this moment to share his thoughts on the exam with the class: "That test was sooo easy," he said with a grin as he waved his shiny piece of plastic in the air. Ah, the old humble brag. My face burned as I hid behind my green folder; the color combination lighting up like a Christmas tree

Recently I was thinking about how hard adulthood can be. And while we aren't necessarily being graded on it, there are days it feels like we’re failing. Like if someone were to hand us a paper with our scores, there'd be a whole lot of red.

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Here’s the thing: there will always be the Alex’s of the world. Lurking around, reminding us that, while something may have been hard for you, it was easy for him. Freshman year, he waved around his new permit but these days, he's on Instagram or in the office, implying that he's cruising through life, making everything look natural and easy. 

Something I’m learning lately is how much power there is in admitting when things are difficult. When we're honest enough to let people into the hard spaces in our lives, we give one another permission to be vulnerable. Life can be tough and there's no shame in admitting it. In fact, I think by sharing its challenges with one another, we create room for more growth and connection. We do one another a disservice when we pretend everything is easy. 

Loyally,
J