Getting your driver’s license. Going on your first date. Prom. High school graduation. These things are all milestones during your high school years that fill you with mixed emotions. Dread, confusion, excitement…these are all normal feelings. And then you turn 18! You are legally an adult! Maybe you have recently graduated or are about to or maybe life has taken you down a different road. I am not here to judge where you are in your life once you turn 18, but wherever you are, you are probably struggling with how to FEEL like a grown up.
My blog is called BEING GROWN UP because I think we all struggle with what that actually means. Is it getting a job? Is it making a large purchase on your own? Is it a relationship milestone, like an engagement or marriage, or even having children? Is the thought of being a grown up so far out of reach that you can’t even define it?
Find peace in knowing that you are not the only one figuring it all out. The truth is, there is no magical age or milestone that defines being grown up. At 46, I am STILL figuring it out as I go along. Some people will make it look easy, but trust me, there is some aspect of their life that they don’t quite feel so grown up about.
Being grown up is definitely NOT turning 18! So take the pressure off of your self if you are newly 18 and, although excited to explore your freedoms, not ready for major responsibility. As a matter of fact, it is physiologically impossible to be READY to handle the responsibilities of adulthood.
“In fact, recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part.” (According to UNDERSTANDING THE TEEN BRAIN).
This quote is about brains aged 18-25. Think about how you react to things around you. You (or your peers) are more emotional, dramatic, and feel like some things are the end of the world for you, even though adults around you brush you off and say that it’s nothing. Sometimes you probably feel misunderstood by older adults and that your feelings are often dismissed. These are normal feelings for your age group and we have all been through that. A lot of the time it is also experience that causes us from the older generation to tell you that something isn’t a big deal, because we already lived through that ourselves, and we don’t want to see you wasting your energy on that! But, every one must go through the emotional ups and downs and learn to handle them on their own in order to become a more responsible adult. So, when someone tells you to “act your age” at 21…let them know you are!!
Relationship changes also do not qualify as being grown up. I don’t know how often people feel this way now, but when I was growing up, I felt like getting married and having kids was the goal…the final destination. After that, everything would just fall into place. So, I spent most of my energy in failed relationships thinking that I was in love, just for the sake of being in love, and not understanding why things weren’t working out for me. When I finally found a like minded individual, someone who thought the same thing I did, I thought marriage was the logical next step. Three kids and a divorce later, let me tell you, I had my priorities all wrong. And I STILL didn’t feel like a grown up while I was raising kids! I was lucky enough to be able to still go to college and party with my childless friends now and again and allow myself time to create experiences to become grown up.
Being grown up is also no defined by your career or work status. Even if you do four years in the military, you will come out not feeling prepared to be a real adult. You may have a little bit of an advantage with responsibilities and goal setting, but you will probably still want to live your life without any of that for awhile. And there is nothing wrong with that! Maybe you are waiting for a promotion or a raise to start feeling like an adult, but that won’t necessarily be the answer.
I know what you are asking…HOW DO YOU FEEL LIKE A GROWN UP?
Well…there is no right answer. Sorry if you read all of this thinking that there would be an easy answer coming up. The truth is, it is a combination of things above, but I personally think that you will feel like a grown up when you have gained enough experience to find peace with your decision making. Whatever aspect of life you make choices about, you will be able to make those choices and follow through on your decisions with little or no hesitation. For you, it could be trying to teach yourself how to invest your money to become financially stable later in life. Or maybe it is taking steps in all of your relationships to create boundaries and not allow yourself to be surrounded by toxic people. Maybe it is deciding that your job just isn’t what you want to be doing the rest of your life and making the necessary changes to do what you want to do. At this point, you will know what that is, or at least be able to narrow it down.
Being grown up is about responsibility to yourself and those around you, taking care of yourself, and looking to the future and taking the steps needed (health, finances, career, relationships) to become the adult you envision yourself being. It is about experience in life, love, and everything in between. It is knowing what you need to work on, being honest with yourself, and realizing that your journey isn’t like anyone else’s so there are no wrong answers. Being grown up is about boundaries, saying no to people when necessary, and not compromising the values you have gained so far.
This blog, BEING GROWN UP, is about all of these things and more. I hope that as you find your our path to feeling grown, you will be able to use some of this information to help you along. Everyone must journey on their own, but there are so many things that you need to know that you haven’t learned yet…and why go through the hard times when the answers are right there? So, if you haven’t yet, explore the other posts on my blog and find the ones that pertain to making your life easier.
If there are topics you would like to see covered, drop me a message or a comment on the blog or find Being Grown Up on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest and let me know your ideas there. I do like to explore lots of different topics that pertain to adulthood, so I hope you are able to find something you like. Click on Anchor.fm/kim-stamler to listen to podcasts of my articles or look for Being Grown Up on your favorite podcast subscriber. Thanks as always for your support! XOXO