The Internet has given birth to a collective hysteria surrounding adulthood. It’s essentially everywhere you look.
“BILLS!” Scream frantic tumblr users.
“RELATIONSHIPS!” Yell fav-hungry tweeters.
“GOING TO WORK AND GETTING A JOB AND HAVING STUDENT LOANNNNNS!” Panics the general majority of young Americans entering the workforce.
Yes. Those are all factors of adulthood. And I’m not here to downplay any of those.
I put myself through University and am therefore up to my neck in student loans. I pay an absurd amount of rent to live in New York City. I’m single as fuck and I don’t have a trust fund and for a long time after graduating college I had to work a soul-sucking job that made me want to beat my head against the wall by about 2pm each afternoon.
And yet I am enjoying adulthood immensely. I wouldn’t give a single part of it up for the world.
Because here’s the thing about graduating high school or University and entering the real world: Your life becomes your own. For better or for worse. Yes, you might have to work a crummy job. Yes, you might barely be able to make ends meet. Yes, you are going to have breakups and rejections and struggles that make you feel as though the wind has been knocked straight out of your chest.
But at the end of the day, every struggle, every triumph, every fresh start belongs to you. Some people will find that statement terrifying. But others will find it absolutely liberating. And those are the people who will unquestionably love their adult years.
It is easy to be sixteen or seventeen or eighteen and have all your expenses covered for you. It’s easy to have health care and a roof over your head and piping hot meals delivered to you three times a day if you had the kind of parents who did that.
And it’s a lot of fun to stumble through college. It’s great to meet inspiring people and learn incredible things and spent one or two too many weekends getting way too drunk and hooking up with everyone.
There are many benefits to being young and careless.
But there’s also a very particular kind of contentment that I believe you cannot truly experience until you hit your adult years.
It’s the pride of looking around an apartment that you fought tooth and nail to make rent on and telling yourself, ‘This place is mine.’
It’s the joy of landing the first job that aligns with your passions and knowing that you – and you alone – made it happen for yourself.
It’s the comfort of knowing that life is going to throw you curves and speed bumps and heartaches and breaks but you’re going to steer yourself through every single one of them. Because you’ve fought your way into the kind of adult you want to become. And I’m not sure if there’s a single feeling out there that rivals that one.
So here is what I’ll give you straight up – it isn’t going to be easy. Not a single, glorious moment of it. You’re going to flail and struggle and fall and at times it’s going to hurt a whole lot. That’s adulthood. They aren’t lying to you about that.
But it’s also going to be phenomenal. You’re also going to succeed and advance and astound yourself with everything you’re capable of.
You’re going to land jobs you never thought you’d get. You’re going to kiss people who make your heart soar. You’re going to travel to fantastic new places and learn mind-boggling new things and watch yourself start over one hundred thousand, million times.
It’s can be tiring and difficult and thankless, if you decide it is.
But it can also be liberating and motivating and endlessly empowering if you let it be.
Because the truth about adulthood is that it’s not inherently good or bad as a life stage – it is simply whatever you make of it.
Stay hidden in your room watching Netflix and adulthood is lonely. Stop working towards your dreams and you won’t reach them.
But start stepping out of your comfort zone every now and then and you’ll notice something wonderful – that adulthood is inherently laced with possibility. It offers the opportunity for you to pursue the goals you’ve had in mind for decades. To move to the places you grew up dreaming about. To fail and restart and try again, as many damn times as you need to – because your life finally belongs to only you.
The truth about being an adult is that it’s exactly as tragic or as wonderful as you let it be.
And if you’re ready to fight for the life you want, it is magnificent.