As a recent graduate, I’m adjusting to the entire “adult” lifestyle. To be honest, being an adult is NOT as fun as it sounded when I was 8, 16, or even 21.
Each day feels like a challenge. Lucky for me, I appreciate a good challenge and I have a sense of humor to go with life—most of the time.
I find myself trying to adult in all aspects of life: health, work, community engagement, dating—you know, all the things that make you a real “grown-up.”
With that, I find myself asking myself several questions on a regular basis. After talking to some of my friends and having a few glasses of wine—I found out I’m not the only one, so we made a list.
1. Why did we ever even want to grow up?
The answer seemed so obvious with a bottle of wine in front of us. We no longer have to hide our wine in our closets. We’re no longer judged for having wine every night. It makes perfect sense for us to go have a drink at 5:00—we just got done working—it’s socially acceptable for us to be sitting at the bar for happy hour with our favorite coworkers and best friends.
Group Conclusion: Our parents lied. Alcohol is a GREAT way to socialize and chill out after a long day. Nights with your friends laughing about the struggles all of you are going through are completely worth it.
2. Do we really have to eat healthy and get back in shape?
Honey, the four-year-forty doesn’t look good on anyone. But if you feel good and love yourself then you rock what you’ve got. You do you. I’m trying to get healthy again—in fact, I’m sure my mom would be thrilled to know I had a Big Mac and Taco John’s Potato Olés® for supper last night. Mom, before you say, “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips,” understand I got those hips out of bed and went running this morning because…I’m adulting.
Group Conclusion: Being healthy should be important, but it’s not about how much you weigh, workout or eat. It’s about how you feel about yourself. It’s about being confident and happy with who you are—inside and out.
3. Do we have to get involved with the community?
This is an issue we didn’t disagree on. The answer was obviously yes. Our wine induced selves reminded each other of all the change and good we’d like to see in the world. With that being said, our main squeeze Gandhi said it best. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Group Conclusion: First step—find some organizations that you think you can advocate for. Then step up and be a leader.
4. Is casual sex acceptable?
Surprise! Adulthood is actually even less judgmental than college was. Maybe it’s just the fact that none of us are getting any because we’re too busy working to pay off our massive amounts of student loans. (Diverting the conversation in case my dad is reading this. Now most likely shaking his head but he knows I’m right.)
Group Conclusion: People just aren’t as critical in the adult world. Adults participate in adult activities and no one cares. Finally.
5. Am I supposed to settle down soon?
See previous question. Kidding. Sort of.
Group Conclusion: Most of us came to the conclusion that we’re focusing on our career. Some of us just got rid of the college boyfriend/girlfriend and we’re uninterested in jumping into a relationship. The final comment was simple, “It’s cheaper to buy dinner for one,” which made perfect sense to all of us. This question was returned when the singles of the group wanted to find out the other side.
6. Why are some of my friends settling down already?
The answers to this were drastically different from each other. “We were just ready to move on and start a family.” And then, “It was the next step in our relationship.” And, “It’s cheaper for taxes.”—Probably the best answer I’ve ever heard. Although, I think the rest of us can agree he may have been in the doghouse for the night.
Group Conclusion: Everyone is different. Settle down when YOU’RE ready for the reasons that make sense to YOU even if that reason is saving a buck or two.
7. What do I want to be when I grow up?
Yes, we’ve all started our career. Most of us even like our jobs. But is this what we’re doing for the rest of our lives? Is that actually a thing anymore? We are living in a society that influences a cookie-cutter lifestyle: graduate high school, go to college, get a degree, start a career, work for 50 years and retire. How many of us actually stay in the field we’re working in? How many of us actually find our passions and truly chase it. If you aren’t, you’ve found out what you can work on. And if you are, cheers to you. You’ve done things right.
Group Conclusion: Find your passion. It’s never too late to do what you love.
8. Is it weird that I don’t want to be responsible for anyone or anything other than myself?
I want a St. Bernard in the worst way. Maybe even a few of them. But, when it comes to the hours I want to work—traveling I’d like to do, time I’d like to spend with friends and family it just isn’t realistic for me to have a giant dog sitting at home all day. Which basically summed up our feelings about relationships.
Speaking for myself, I don’t want to feel obligated to be at specific events if I have other plans. I don’t want to feel bad leaving spontaneously for a weekend getaway. I just want to enjoy some more time for me. I get that it’s selfish but when you enjoy being single and appreciate your alone time, it’s ok to be selfish. Right? Someday, I will come home to my most likely very sarcastic, sports enthused husband and St. Bernard. But for now, I enjoy knowing my popcorn and glass of wine is all I have to worry about when I get home.
Group Conclusion: No matter your relationship/pet ownership status, it’s important to have YOU time.
9. How the heck do you cook for one?
Like I said dinner is frequently a bag of popcorn and a glass of wine. As I focus more on my health and how I’d like to improve it, I’m realizing cooking for one is so much more difficult than it sounds. Like seriously, how many eggs and salads can one person eat in a week?
Group Conclusion: Married friends have it easy—at least cooking for two you can have leftovers for a day or two rather than a week.
10. Who should I vote for?
We all knew this question was coming at some point and I won’t go into the heated arguments that ended up taking place as we ranted about our political beliefs. What I will say is that as a citizen of this nation you need to be educated about what is going on in our country—in the world for that matter. Vote on what you believe to be right. It’s not just about the presidential election coming up. Vote for the members of congress you’d like to represent your state. Vote for your state representatives like the governors and state legislatures. Understand what your community, state, region and nation need and vote accordingly, whether you agree or disagree. Vote.
Group Conclusion: Be proactive.
11. When is it my turn to be in the spotlight?
You can’t have a wine night without a little whining. Let’s be realistic, as young professionals so many of us are looking around and seeing other people our age with undoubtedly impressive resumés continuing to thrive. With that, a friend of mine pointed out the obvious. Stop. Think about what has been going on in your life. And realize you are actually #blessed.
Just in my group. There were interviews taking place for someone who has dreamt of living overseas for as long as we can remember. Another interviewing in D.C. There were recent promotions. There were babies entering the world and new businesses starting up. Our lives were actually full of excitement.
Group Conclusion: After taking a long look at our present day lives, we were able to toast to the fact that we were, in fact, in the spotlight.
12. Am I the only who thinks these things?
The evening of genuine conversation wrapped itself up by reminding me I am not alone when it comes to thinking I suck at adulting. Because in all reality, we all have these questions and more…you’re not alone.
Group Conclusion: Embrace the day your in. Love it. Live it. Because if today sucks, we’ll determine how tomorrow can be better over a beer and some apps tonight.