Growing up is an exciting, yet difficult thing to do. It reminds me of popping that last spoonful of ice cream in my mouth when my stomach is already full. It’s delightful, but it also kind of hurts a little bit. Figurative growing pains get to us all and everyone certainly stumbles once or twice along the way. But this time is also one of introspection, experience, and impending clarity. You learn a lot, about yourself and the world.
You’re just exploring the ins and outs of life and trying to maneuver your way through it. Well, you’re beginning to at least, because your life has just began. Here is a short, but meaningful list of a few things I’ve learned while making the crossover from teenager to young adult.
1. I (you) can’t change people.
(SN: This is more to do with dealing with other people as a young adult. We all will encounter someone who will make us want to be a hero. Learn this, and you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration and more importantly, time.)
You can’t do it. Maybe this is a matter of opinion, but this is my list so you can argue with me on your own. I stand by this. You. Cannot. Change. People. I’ve tried it and it does not work. However, what you can do is incite change in someone. By that I mean you can do something that inspires people to make changes. You can say something, create some kind of content, or through action make someone take a step back and evaluate themselves. Thus causing them to choose to change. What I’m saying is, people will always do what they want to do. That is how people are; they always have been and always will be. You can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change. But you can ignite a fire within them and make them do it themselves.
2. Different things work for different people.
Do you. I used to be a lot more closed minded than I am now. It always seemed that there was one way to be successful in life: graduate high school, go to college, get a degree, get a job, and then viola! You’ve done it. But the older you get the more people you’ll meet. As you talk to these people the more you’ll start to realize that success is a very fluid term. Success for me could be failure for someone else. And the great thing is that, that’s totally okay.
Not everyone in this world is meant to live a cookie cutter and by the book life. By the same token, we can’t all be free spirited gone with the wind type folk. That’s fine. Variety is what makes the world go around. Claim your niche, pick your lane, find what works for you and embrace it! I found relevance in this phrase my mom used to say to me during this time in my life: It’s not right, it’s not wrong, it’s just different. DO YOU.
3. Do the things that make you happy now or you’ll regret it later.
Piggy backing off of the last point, this one is pretty important in doing you. You’re not in high school anymore. The confines of those 4 years are no longer holding you back. If something makes you happy then forget what people have say about it. You need to do it. If you like to paint, then why don’t you take a class?
If you want to go on that trip to Paris you’ve been dreaming about for so long then do whatever it takes to get there! Or, if it’s as little as tackling that list of ’books to read’ you’ve had going for so long, then do that! If you don’t do what makes you happy now chances are you may never get to it. Life gets in the way and the opportunities to do things for pure pleasure don’t come as often. The last thing you want is to feel like you didn’t take the time to enjoy right now.
4. I’m (you’re) going to be okay.
A transition period is always scary. You’ve gone from following the course given to you by your parents to building your own course for yourself. And everyone is trying to tell you how to do it (please see #2)! Tough stuff kid. In doing that, there will be moments where it seems like the world is crashing down. There will be days where you can’t get anything right. Times will come when you’re feeling down, about yourself, about the future, and about the fact that everyone else seemingly has everything together and is flourishing.
But please believe me when I say this: everyone else does not have it together, everyone is worried about the future (that’s why we have 401Ks and retirement plans), and everyone is feeling down about themselves some days. But bottom line is: you’re going to be ok. Those feelings are no indication that you’re going about life the wrong way. Actually, congrats are in order because surprise! You’re a freaking human being. I assure you, life will work itself out. It may not do it when or how you expected, but it will.