by Brittany Middleton, PT, DPT

I can remember, when I was about 5 years old, how I just couldn’t wait to be a “grown up” like my parents and grandparents. They had everything so easy and figured out, they could do whatever they wanted, and (probably most importantly) they didn’t have a bed time. I’ve since learned that there is a lot more to being an adult than all of those wonderful things. I also have since learned that most of those reasons were just the perception of a 5 year old that only had to be concerned with coloring in the lines and tying my shoes without completely making a mess of the strings. There is a lot more that goes into being an adult…it’s actually really hard sometimes.

Since joining the “grown up” world myself, some friends and I have discovered 2 really important rules to being a decently successful adult and good human being in general.


This is probably the most important rule to remember as it goes right in hand with “treat others as you want to be treated”. Being kind doesn’t always require a large gesture but can be as small as a smile or kind word. It could be holding the door for the person behind you, giving up your seat to those who need it, or providing a listening ear. I’ve worked with the public for 6 years and have seen how a smile and effort to legitimately be kind can change a conversation. It isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when someone isn’t necessarily kind themselves, but it is always worth the effort.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about” – Anonymous


This year has been a whirlwind of change for me. I’ve taken the biggest exam of my life, graduated from Physical Therapy school, started my first “adult” job, and I’m planning a wedding. Needless to say my life is a little crazy right now. I’ve since learned to appreciate the small things in life such as a silent car ride on the way home or a run that’s just me, Thor (my dog), and my headphones. It’s a quiet weekend at home watching movies with my fiancé. It’s that simple phone call from someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile. It’s a simple horse ride where you feel like you left all the stress and problems back at the barn. It’s the little things in life that make us slow down and really appreciate where we are in life and de-stress.

Since becoming an adult I’ve realized that we don’t have everything figured out and not having a bed time is pretty cool…but I now want to go to bed early. It’s not as easy as it looked when I was younger to be a part of this great big world but it is every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be. It’s even better since I’ve learned these two rules and apply them daily. In my job, I deal with people who are hurting and need a kind word. It can make the difference between them improving or remaining the same as day 1. Enjoying the little things is also as important for our patients as it is for ourselves. Sometimes gains for patients are smaller than they like but they are still improvements; patients may sometimes need us to remind them how important those small gains are. When we can use these two rules, everyone is happier. It’s the happiness that made being a grownup look so easy and made me want to be one so badly.

I may be an adult now but I’m still the same person I was when I was 5. I still like to color in the lines and still make a mess of tying my shoe strings. I still look at some adults and think “I want to grow up and be like that”. I know that with these two rules, I’m well on my way.