At first I thought everything was falling apart (Chinua Achebe style). It started with an audit letter. I’d forgotten to list one of my freelance gigs in my earnings and owed thousands of dollars to the IRS. The next day I received a rent increase. The week after that the startup I was working for collapsed. I got laid off alongside some of my closest colleagues.

I thought I’d hit bottom but I hadn’t. Shortly thereafter my girlfriend broke up with me. We’d been struggling for months but I didn’t care. “The heart takes all,” I told myself over and over again. “I’d rather live for love than walk away.” But then she walked away anyway.

In my head I was settling down and becoming a grown up. I purchased furniture for the first time in my life and had just upgraded my lifestyle. When it all collapsed I was heartbroken, dead broke (relatively speaking), and sadder than words can express. Times were dark.

Then I realized I was wrong. Growing up isn’t about buying furniture or living in a nice apartment with granite countertops, an ice-maker and a stove with a built-in pancake grill. Growing up is about resilience. Learning you have it. Knowing you can generate it. Realizing that everything can blow up and you can build something even more valuable from the rubble.

For the first time I feel like an adult.