“Adulting”: Growing Up is Never Easy

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

– E.E. Cummings

Just the other day I was going through old journals I had when I was a kid. Feeling the nostalgia of my old memories, I lay on the floor reminiscing of being that young again, dreaming of what my days would be like as I got older. But now at 22, I’ve realized that no amount of high school classes, college courses, summer jobs or hours spent watching TV shows that revolved around adulthood has truly prepared me for “adulting”. For those that don’t know, “adulting” refers to coming into the age of adulthood where one now has to behave and assume the responsibilities of the average adult.

When you’re younger, the independence and freedom of growing up and getting older is enticing. It draws you in. You dream about where you’ll live, whether you’ll have an apartment or a house, and what it’ll be like when you start your dream job. But, responsibilities like paying bills, filing your taxes and managing your finances always seems to allude your thoughts because for most, we were never taught much about it in our childhood or teenage years.

As difficult as the transition into adulthood has been at times, I must say that it’s becoming one of my greatest experiences so far. I’ve been learning so many new and exciting things that I hadn’t gotten to know about myself in the past. While I’m still adjusting to this new phase of “adulting”, I’ve learned a few tips along the way:

  • Manage Your Finances as Early as Possible – Managing your finances is one of the toughest things to do as you get older. As your responsibilities increase, your available balance in your bank account decreases. But, if you budget properly, managing your expenses won’t dramatically impact the money you’re bringing in.
    • The best way to do this is to use a notebook or create an excel spreadsheet. At the top, start with your monthly income and then begin to subtract your needs. Your needs are the things you have to take care of each month with any income you’re receiving. Examples are rent, utility bills, car insurance and groceries. Next, subtract your wants, these are things that aren’t a necessity for your day to day living. Consider them things that you could technically survive without. Examples include tickets to a concert or going out to eat at your favorite restaurants with your friends. Once you’ve done that, take a look at how much money you have left. Is it more or less than what you expected?
      • If it’s less, think of any wants that you can remove or find a cheaper alternative for. Maybe that concert you really want to go to can wait. Maybe instead of going out to eat, you and your friends can cook at home together. You’d be surprised at how much money you actually have when you cut back on your wants. Plus, when you save now, the reward later will be worth taking the financial responsibility!
      • If it’s more, that’s great! Still consider any wants that you could possibly cut out and start thinking about what money you could put away into a savings account instead. You never know when you might need it for a rainy day (I typically try to save about 10-20% of each paycheck). One thing I’ve learned is that it’s easier to save when you know you have more money in your account than you actually need.
  • Accept Change, It’ll Be Coming Your Way – If you haven’t noticed already, a lot of change is headed your way as you grow up, but, it’s not a bad thing. Change is natural and while it may sometimes be scary or make you anxious, know that it’s for the better. We all change from the person we used to be and once you accept that it’s happening, you’ll learn to love who you’re becoming.
  • It’s Okay to Outgrow Old Relationships – This is often an extension of the change in yourself and in the people around you. They’re changing just as much as you are, and sometimes as a result we find that we are no longer compatible like we used to be with our childhood friends or high school sweethearts. Just know that it’s okay if you begin to find yourself outgrowing your old relationships. It’s normal, and as you grow into yourself you’ll find new relationships that fit with the person you’re becoming. Just make sure you don’t burn bridges. Outgrowing isn’t the same as getting rid of. Just because your old relationships have changed, it doesn’t mean they no longer serve a purpose in your life or that those memories have to be erased.
  • If Things Don’t Go as Planned, It’s Okay – There are a lot of ups and downs when it comes to “adulting”, but don’t think of your mistakes as the end. They’re just obstacles and I promise you will overcome them. Keep your head up and know that every tough encounter is a life lesson you will be grateful for later on. And if you ever find yourself in a situation you don’t know how to handle, don’t be afraid to ask for help! The answer you need may just be one question away.

If you have any additional tips, comments or advice, please leave it in the comments below! I’d love to know what you think.

 

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