Adulting can be complicated. I’ve lived 26 years, and this is my guide to making it a little bit smoother.
1. Know that insecurity is an inevitable part of growing up. Don’t shy away from it. Building yourself and making yourself feel secure in a world that is always challenging is one of the most gratifying experiences of human evolution.
2. Unlearn judging someone by their gender, age, class, caste. Learn to judge people by their words, but more importantly, by their actions.
3. Inculcate independence in yourself—emotional, mental, and financial. Know that independence is not an achievement but an integrating process.
4. Make peace with feeling uncomfortable. Embrace unfamiliarity—that’s where the thrill lies. Treasure the vulnerability within yourself and others, giving it space to breathe instead of suppressing it. Cherish emotional intimacy and the meaningful interactions it leads to.
5. Try out everything you want, but keep up with it only after a conscious dialogue with yourself, rather than because you’re giving in to pressure or buying into meaningless definitions of being cool.
6. Stay true to yourself. Adulting is a mess. During the journey of adulting, you may realize that the “established adults” who surrounded you as a kid need tons of adulting themselves. So trust your own instincts over the societal norms and conditioning.
7. Actively choose compassion over intolerance and empathy over indifference.
8. If you’re living by yourself, learn a little about rates, bills, plumbing, and electricity so you’re not duped; learn to laugh when you are. You can always try to make budgeting more efficient, but also familiarize yourself with being broke.
9. Respect all, not only elders. Learn that respect is deserved. Start with learning to respect yourself. Don’t take shit. Stand up for yourself and what you believe in.
10. Establish good boundaries, with strangers, friends, and family.
11. Learn to reparent yourself. Figure out your own motivations and take responsibility. Raise yourself as you would raise a child; be open to educating yourself and keep evolving.
12. Know that all the morals you learned as a kid—honesty, courage, integrity, loyalty, kindness—will be put to test. And it is your right to define your limits and to choose what is acceptable to you and what isn’t.
13. Be mindful. That is almost a survival skill in a world that feeds on superficiality and rewards ignorance. So be mindful of the exposure you allow yourself, the kind of thinking you nourish, and the people you let into your life.
14. The chaos of adulting can often make one feel lost in a void. In addition to that, you can’t escape pain and heartbreak in life. Remember that healing doesn’t occur within a time frame and isn’t always linear. The best way to feel stable is by keeping in touch with the people you love and those you still feel loved by. It could be the family you were born into or the tribe you found. Don’t let silence or distance hinder them. Whoever they are, prioritize them. That will offer you at least a chance of staying sane.
15. Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for help. It doesn’t matter whether it’s valid or not, if you feel low, reach out. The universe works in mysterious ways, and someone will always answer.