Here’s the thing, I’m 26 years old, and I have no idea what the difference is between HMO and PPO health insurance, but thankfully, I can differentiate between an oval and a rhombus. This is just one example of the many issues that are necessary to be informed about while living an adult life in America that I just don’t know about. It’s interesting that most of what we learn about growing up isn’t always directly related to the obstacles we will face as soon as we need to start “adulting.”

A common statement shared amongst students is, “When are we ever going to use this in real life?” Seriously! I know shapes and the capital of South Carolina, but I freeze up when I have to discuss or think about insurance, taxes, and many other topics that are important. For a portion of people my age I am sure this isn’t an issue and they are very well informed, however, I am confident that there is a large percentage of those who are in the same boat as me. So what do we do? Of course, we do have the resources to learn about tax returns and such, but why isn’t it a part of schooling in younger years? How are we supposed to be proactive about the things we don’t know about? It really confuses me.

If you are still reading this, I would guess that you are also in my shoes and possibly a little bit scared about “adulating.” Well, you are so not alone! This time of our lives can be quite challenging and extremely frightening. The thing to realize during these struggles is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we know this because everyone else has gone through it. I believe it’s beneficial that we come to a point in our lives where we step back and say, “What the hell am I doing?” If we didn’t realize a need for change, how else would we continue the growth process? It would be nice if in high school or college we were required to take a class or two that informed us in detail about what happens when we no longer have a degree to work towards. But nope, we are kind of just thrown right into the fire expected to manage without knowing what we’re doing.

For most, the plan is to go through grade school, high school, college, and then start your career. Personally, I spent my college career majoring in being the life of the party and making as many friends as possible. I had no solid future thoughts; I just lived in the moment. Living in the moment has its perks, but here I am at 26 with no direction. It’s scary. I was fortunate to have a job waiting for me out of college, all because of a referral I received from a friend after reading a Facebook post. I had no idea what I would truly be doing, I just knew of the company, so I picked up and moved to a new state for it because why the hell not? I’m a fan of the idea of saying yes to any opportunity that crosses our paths. The worst thing that happens is that you figure out what you don’t like. I’d say that’s a pretty decent worst-case scenario. That’s exactly what happened with my endeavor: I realized that cold calling sales and Arizona weren’t for me. I left there with a handful of life-long friends and some skills that will be useful in the future. Afterward, I worked as a nanny, bartender, personal grocery shopper, and in a loan office. I’ve been getting around. Now I feel as though everything has come to a halt as far as living in the moment goes.

I’ve turned 26 and am no longer under my parents’ health insurance plan. This has really forced me to face reality. It’s a little bit silly how this one change has caused so many worries to arise as far as my future goes, but this really made me consider the direction I’m headed in. Not only was it very disorienting, but going from always having a path to having no path really shook me up. I think it’s common that during this age we go through a lot of changes and realizations about our current situations and how they will impact our futures. It just makes me wonder why we aren’t all trained for this. I feel as though this part of life is not focused on enough, and everyone out there going through these twenty-something struggles needs an outlet to discuss our frustrations and worries. The news and various talk shows like to talk about how our generation is so daring and that we aren’t doing things the way past generations have done things. We don’t choose careers straight out of college, we try new things, and we go against the norms. They make it sound like we’re a little bit crazy. I think it’s pretty incredible.

Where once it was common to just latch onto a career because of the money or parental influence, now we are taking advantage of these fears by listening to them and taking action instead. As scary as all of these “adulting” obstacles are, I believe they definitely serve a huge purpose. Sometimes we do need to be woken up from our comfort zones and see the bigger picture. The biggest silver lining to all of this is that with these realizations we can take full control over our lives and make the necessary changes. Sure, it’s frustrating that they kind of just smack us in the face and sometimes all at once. However, sometimes that’s exactly what we need to shoot us into the direction we have been looking for all along.