Welcome to Adulthood: Now What?
You’re an adult now, or so they tell you. But who are they? What really constitutes adulthood? And most importantly, what are you supposed to do now?
There are so many questions about this new space in which you’ve found yourself. The plan you’ve been following until now has run out, and with it comes so much freedom and yet so much uncertainty.
In this blog, we’ll cover some of those burning questions- from how you got here to where you may go next.
When does adulthood officially begin?
As the line between adolescence and adulthood becomes blurrier, it’s difficult to tell when the transition is official. Is it when you turn 16 and can drive? Maybe it’s 18 when public policy dictates adulthood through voting rights, among other things. But you can’t drink until you’re 21, so perhaps it’s then? Is it even age-based?
Maybe not. Although studies indicate brain maturity isn’t reached until age 24, your official induction to adulthood may be linked to milestones- graduating college, establishing an independent residence, or beginning your career. For some, they began shouldering the burden of adulthood long before they’re legally recognized as an adult. Whether it is due to the dysfunctional family you grew up in, or other traumatic encounters, the pressures of adulthood may have come too soon.
There is no official answer to when adulthood begins, but it’s safe to say that if you’re wondering if you’re there, you’re likely facing pressures that come with adulthood, so at the very least, you’re functioning as an adult.
Where do I go from here?
Again, there is no single right answer for how the foundation of your adulthood “should” look. That sounds scary, and it can certainly be overwhelming, but there’s also a really big upside to that: there are a lot more ways to get it right than there are to get it wrong. Now that you’re here, you will work toward moving authentically in the direction that feels best for you, learning and growing along the way. While it sounds cliche to say that the decisions you make now will shape your future, there is a lot of truth to that.
Emerging adulthood is the time where a lot of important foundations are built:
Connecting with others - Now that you’re out of the house and out on your own, you may not have access to the same friend groups that supported you through high school or college. Learning how to nurture connections as an adult can be incredibly challenging, but it is an important part of this life stage.
Figuring out Finances - If you spend your early adulthood with a loose relationship with financial responsibility, those bad habits (and that debt) will follow you into your middle adulthood as well.
Pursuing a Career - Moving from role to role without continuity or upgrade in position may align your CV with a jack of all trades future rather than with a single career option. Neither is a bad thing- it’s more about what you want to create than anything else.
Developing a Routine - Adulthood is an important time to decide how you want to structure your life. In terms of what you eat, when you exercise, how much you sleep, and even how often you call your mom, now is the time to try out new things and decide what works for you.
How do I let go of the things I don’t need?
Not everything you prepared for as you grew will join you in this new venture toward the rest of your life. Adulthood offers much, but its price—sacrificing and learning to let go—is often painful. Whether it’s a relationship, a job, or a plan for the future, moving toward your most authentic life doesn’t always feel good. Spend some time assessing what you truly need, and align the way you spend your time and energy with those things.
Letting go, or making changes, doesn’t have to look like a brutal cut or a dramatic farewell. Sometimes those endings come as a quiet, slow change. It doesn’t make them any easier, but preparing for a change you never expected is a bittersweet part of growth. Are you ready for the next step?
Adulthood is an adventure of epic proportions, and it’s not just anyone’s. It’s yours. This experience you’ll have is utterly unique. It can be a scary, confusing, or triumphant one, and many emotions will come and go. Through loss, gain, growth, and change, you will continue to move toward the life you build in the spaces you exist now.
What you’re doing matters; who you are matters.
This foundation you’re building is yours and yours alone, but you don’t have to figure out how to build it alone. Your future is bright, and we don’t mind if you wear shades inside. Let's take a walk along the beach and talk it out (telehealth appointments are also available).
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