I think it’s fair to say that we all have these moments when we reach a certain age and ponder the fact that we never imagined how it would feel to be this old. We also sort of contemplate how what once seemed old now seems very, very young. I guess it’s just part of childhood innocence to assume that there comes this great defining moment between when you are a kid and when you are a fully-fledged, self-governing, bills-paying, child-raising adult and more often than not, it’s a hypothetical moment that terrifies us. Yes, growing up can be scary, but I have found myself pleasantly surprised on a number of accounts that no one really explained to me as a kid.
1. Cliques aren’t as much of a thing anymore
Don’t get me wrong there are still cliques in adulthood. But what no one tells you is that unlike high school and college, most of your friend groups are based on shared interests versus convenience. You still have people in your life that you dislike, but thankfully, these interactions don’t have to go much past what you let them. You don’t have to make nice with as many people anymore. You can pick who you spend most of your time without worrying if they live too far, or go to another school, or work a different job.
2. Time becomes more meaningful
It feels like the time passes faster once you leave school and your life isn’t governed by semesters. But, when you look back on a year that you held down a job, or moved into a new apartment, or found someone worth dating, or met a new potential best friend, the moments become more purposeful. Everything is more deliberate once you enter The Real World, which can be scary, but it’s also pretty cool. It gets harder to see certain friends, making that time more precious. It’s a rarity to have the whole family together too. The fact that these times are more few and far between gives way to more reflective flashes of Wow, this is my life, I better not wait to appreciate it.
3. Feeling like an adult
You’re lying if there isn’t some mundane task that you watched the adults do for years that now when you do it you don’t think damn if I’m not a total badass. Like packing a lunch, or cooking dinner, or grocery shopping or whatever. For me, it’s carrying a laundry basket full of clean clothes on my hip while I fish out my keys from my pocket. It’s just a silly moment of me deluding myself into thinking I have all this stuff totally figured out. If you don’t have one of these things, I recommend you do more adult things so that you can find yours. It’s really a nice feeling. Kid, you don’t know what’s coming.
You don’t necessarily stress less, or gain total confidence, or become a total master of your field (yet), but you do get so much better. Especially if you are moving where your gut is pulling you. It’s a beautiful thing though when you can recognize a moment in which you would have acted or reacted totally different had it occurred a few years ago. This is growth in the best way.
If it’s not a reality, it’s definitely a goal. And it’s an amazing goal to have. Being able to sustain yourself in the world, or being on a path to being able to do so, is so fulfilling. We used to have to ask permission to go to the bathroom and now we can, pretty much, do whatever the hell we want.
Quit telling kids that they don’t know how lucky they are that they’re so young and how hard it’s going to get when they’re older. If it’s true, they will figure it out in good time. It’s not completely true though. We are here, right on the cusp of the rest of our lives. It’s actually pretty cool if you think about it.