You spend most of your adolescent life waiting for the moment when you are considered an adult. You dream of the endless possibilities that adulthood and freedom bring. Curfews no longer exist, you finally can come and go as you please, and you can occasionally indulge in snacks as a substantial dinner option. It’s the dream right? That feeling of total control over your destiny?
What they fail to mention, or most likely what we fail to recognize, is that all of that independence more often than not translates to loneliness. Once the magnificence of this new found life wears off, you’re left with the immense weight of responsibility. Those decisions you begged to make as a young adult suddenly aren’t so enjoyable. Time after time, we are left to handle the consequences of our actions or lack thereof. Suddenly, the only person to blame for your place in life is the person staring back at you in the mirror. And while many of us are lucky enough to have a support system, it can be embarrassing to admit when you’ve done something wrong,
You convince yourself that your twenties is a time to travel, explore, and form new relationships. You bask in the dream that once you graduate you’ll settle into your career and that it will be smooth sailing from there. What often goes unnoticed is that everyone has their timeline. On top of that global pandemics put a damper on job searches, jobs become comfortable, and you find yourself stuck in a routine you didn’t imagine.
You don’t realize that growing up is lonely, hard, and sometimes very unrewarding. You work a job and watch as endless hours and paychecks go straight to bills. You make plans with friends and family, only to cancel because you’re not up to it, too tired, or maybe work or other responsibilities are getting in the way. Slowly you begin to recognize that all of those rules and routines set by your parents or teachers weren’t so arbitrary. Wisdom and experience go a long way; while they say it can be passed down, that is only true if the following generation is open to hearing and learning it.
It truly is a tale as old as time. How many times have you heard the phrase “you will understand one day”? While it may have been frustrating to hear that I think it’s a concept you only understand once you’re there and living it. Without warning, those five words will slip out of your mouth when talking to those younger than you. Once they have left your lips you’ll probably cringe at the fact you’ve officially hit the milestone in your life where that statement rings true.
What we don’t realize about becoming an adult is that you are truly never sufficiently prepared for all of the responsibility that comes with growing up and that is okay. Trial and error has proved time and time again to teach valuable life lessons. The one thing I’ve come to realize is that while adulthood is not what I expected, it still is alluring. Once I opened up my mind and heart to the fact that my expectations of life after college were misguided, I was able to see the true beauty of the unknown, allowing myself the freedom to continue to grow and learn.