Growing up, I thought adults had it all. They didn’t have to go to school, they didn’t have homework, and they could stay up as late as they wanted. I was never one of those kids who wanted to grow up fast, but I did want to feel more like an adult because I was surrounded by them as an only child. What someone failed to tell me is that while school and bedtimes may not be a thing for adults, they have so many other issues to deal with. And now that I am considered an adult, I’m not sure I like it very much!
I can remember being told that after college life would get harder. But as the typical college student who thought they knew it all, I brushed my professors off thinking they didn’t know me very well. I had a very specific plan of what I wanted to do and was bound and determined to complete it. My hometown was not offering me anything in terms of a career, so my only thought was “I have to get out of here!” And as the adventurous person I am, I made the decision to move to New York City just two and a half months after graduation and never really looked back, or at least not for a few months.
Soon after that, though, I was dealing with moving to a completely new (and huge) place, bills, and being flat broke. I started to miss the novelty of coming home and having dinner ready, food in the fridge, the pleasure of doing laundry in your own house, and even driving. Thankfully, I had friends in the city who I could rely on when I could not handle things. They understood where I was coming from, and continued to tell me that this stage would not last forever and that sooner or later, I would be more settled. Weekly (or daily) calls home to just talk things out with my parents did wonders too.
As much as venting about it helped, there were still those days where I would feel extremely frustrated about my life. Yes, I was living in a city I had always wanted to live in, but not having any spare change in my pockets and not being paid to do what I really wanted to would get to me every once and awhile. It also did not help that I felt like so many of my other friends had their lives together already either.
At twenty-four, I feel like everything needs to happen now. I look at Facebook and see that half of my friends are either getting engaged, are already married, have settled into their jobs, and are actually “adulting.” Me, I’m happy if I can find time to make dinner at night after working! It wears on me sometimes that I’m not in the same spot as so many people I know, but my dad, who has always been my sounding board, made me realize something after one of our chats.
After consoling me when I found out I had not gotten the dream first job I wanted, he said to me, “It will all be okay in the end. Wherever ‘there’ is, you will arrive by a different route.” Hearing that was like music to my ears. I immediately realized that no one’s path is the same, and I should stop comparing myself to other people. My time would come when it was the right moment.
But while you’re waiting for that moment to arrive, yes, being young and on your own just plain sucks sometimes. I can fully admit to not wanting to get out of bed some days and just wanting to hide under the covers! But the thing to remember is you are not alone on this train of life either. It may feel like it sometimes, but trust me, there is another friend out there feeling EXACTLY the same way you are! In college, my friends and I thought we all had our lives planned out and knew where we wanted to go, but none of us have ended up exactly where we wanted just yet and that’s okay! Now, we all complain to each other about the part-time jobs we are working now until that organization we actually want to work for starts paying us or, our favorite topic, our latest money troubles.
As they say, two is better than one, so reach out to your best friends and ask if they are handling the “adult world” any better than you are. I know I have had a tendency to get so wrapped up in my own life right now I forget to talk to people sometimes. A simple text to someone just asking how their day is going will go a long way, though!
There is also something that a professor of mine told me once. We were discussing the current job situation, which at the time was bleak beyond belief. He somehow knew that none of us had quite the grip on reality we needed once we walked across the stage, so he told it to us straight. He said, “You will all struggle, and I want you to.” At first, this did not make sense. Why would you want your students to struggle and not succeed? Now, I get it. The beauty of struggling is that one day, you can look back on your past experiences and realize just how far you have come. I know I am so far from the person who arrived in New York almost two years ago with just a suitcase, and it is because of being on my own and making my own mistakes.
But when you just can’t function anymore, have that freak-out about life from time to time. Cry or scream as loud as you need to if things are getting you down. Even binge-eat ice cream if you feel the need to. All of that is healthy, and if I do say so, necessary every once and awhile. After all of that, though, know that things have a way of working out in the end. This phase of uncertainty won’t last forever, and someday, we will remember it and say, “Hey, I got through that. Wasn’t that fun?”