Read This If You’re 25 And Not Sure If You’re An Adult Yet

The adult skills I didn’t have in college, I still didn’t have after graduation. I had to learn them—sometimes painfully and almost always haltingly, the process often involving a fetal-position or shower-crying stage.
StockSnap / Benjamin Combs
StockSnap / Benjamin Combs

The other day, I was tutoring Carrie, a high school student whose sister had just visited for the holidays. Carrie described the sister to me: a marine biology major, heading off to teach abroad in Asia, and—she added—“she’s 22 and old.”

I’m 25, but Carrie has no idea, which makes me think that she either imagines I’m younger (blame the freckles), or that I’m so old I’m beyond caring about being called old. If it’s the latter, I still don’t blame her.

When I was 16, I had no clear concept of being in my twenties. Vaguely, I thought that I might have a sunny studio apartment with a futon bed, a rice cooker, and a stack of Glamour magazines on the bottom of my bookshelf (a setting that I stole straight from my downstairs neighbor Julie, the only young-ish adult I knew). By 25, I imagined I might be married and ready to have kids, certainly a real adult with a pleasant office job and a daily yoga practice.

To be fair, at 16, I also imagined college as a place where people wore sweaters and sat under trees talking about philosophy, where I would arrive alarmingly inexperienced with no backpacking stories and all the wrong music. Then one day before leaving for college, it hit me: a new era wouldn’t mean immediate, sweeping change.

In my parents’ house in August or in a dorm in September, I would still be me, and my classmates, still a bunch of people the same age as me. We’d change and grow over time, yes, but human development doesn’t happen instantaneously. At 18, I might still have all the same faults as I did at 17, but on the bright side, the same qualities and passions too.

Post-college, I’m learning this lesson over and over again. The adult skills I didn’t have in college (like feeding myself on a budget or choosing car insurance), I still didn’t have after graduation. Instead, I had to decide which I needed to learn first to survive, then learn them—sometimes painfully and almost always haltingly, the process often involving a fetal-position or shower-crying stage.

Just as I begin to feel better about one skill, five more gaps inevitably call for my attention and I realize that I’ll never run out of things to learn: how to cook for nutrition instead of just convenience, how to not kill plants, how to be a helpful adult daughter rather than an entitled adolescent one, how to grow a thicker skin, how to live my life in the most fulfilling way.

Twenty five doesn’t look the way I imagined as a teenager, for me or for most of my friends, many of whom are also grad students or just beginning careers that involve paying lots of dues. I could never have guessed what a strange period of life it would be, a true “emerging adulthood” of both late nights at In-n-Out Burger and the beginnings of crow’s feet.

Our bodies will grow older the longer we live, but that’s where passive transformation stops. If, with age, we also hope to grow wiser or happier, only we can decide how that looks and go after it. TC mark

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Image Credit: StockSnap / Benjamin Combs

Read This If You’re 25 And Not Sure If You’re An Adult Yet is cataloged in , , , ,
  • http://voluptuouscara.wordpress.com Cara

    Oh our bodies grow older, which is why, at thirty-eight chronological years of age, I appear to be an adult, and people expect that I SHOULD have all my shit together. But I don’t. Because, while my face looks older than it did twenty years ago, and YES, I have a Master’s Degree (in British Lit) that doesn’t mean I can change a tire (hell, I can barely drive a car, but that’s OK, I live in NYC), and I probably don’t possess a whole slew of other skills a “normal” adult should have mastered by now.

  • http://www.writingapaige.com Paige

    I am 20 years old but this was still pretty inspirational. I feel old at 21 but still so young and I have to realize that I have my whole life ahead of me. Budgeting is my problem, I am trying to save up with a job that pays me at most 850 a month and I still have some debt from health and I have to get my car fixed. It is stressing but I have found that yoga helps and so does looking forward. People all around me have told me that I am so much older than I actually am, and I wish that would mean I’d have much more of my shit together.

  • http://ayitl.wordpress.com ayitl

    Dreading post-uni life a little bit!

  • http://abipolarjon.wordpress.com abipolarjon

    I just live in denial. I’m 24. I say when I’m off my parents insurance then I’m considered an adult. However, I just aged out of foster care, and realized I’ve always been an adult.

  • http://www.statusbomb.com/read-this-if-youre-25-and-not-sure-if-youre-an-adult-yet/ Read This If You’re 25 And Not Sure If You’re An Adult Yet - Status Bomb - The Most Viral News from Around the Web

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  • Aks

    i’m 24 in still in college. I would still be here till I’m two months away from my 26th birthday and that thought puts me in a dreary mood. Somehow I always thought that the exciting part of adulthood would start when I left college. And now that everyone thinks that being 24 means you should have your shit together, I felt more depressed that I was going to turn Old without even experiencing the “joys of adulthood” beyond college. This post strangely made me feel better. I guess “young” is more a state of mind than a physical description.

  • http://theheartofagypsy.wordpress.com The Heart of a Gypsy

    My experiences right now. I thought I’d be married at 23 and I am so far from every expectation I had set but enjoying the now.

  • http://viralseekers.com/read-this-if-youre-25-and-not-sure-if-youre-an-adult-yet/ Read This If You’re 25 And Not Sure If You’re An Adult Yet - Viral Seekers

    […] Original source courtesy of Thought Catalogue […]

  • https://ankitkarwa.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/read-this-if-youre-25-and-not-sure-if-youre-an-adult-yet/ #26. Read This If You’re 25 And Not Sure If You’re An Adult Yet | A Student's Diary
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