Hey everyone. This is just a reminder that we are all still just growing up.
We may be officially adults now. After all, I’m sure we are all over 18, and a lot of us are over 21. Some of us can drink and smoke.
But as I’m sure we all know, life does not get magically figured out the moment we turn 18 or 21. A lot of us are still making silly mistakes. A lot of us still feel as though we are figuring out the world, even though we are given way more adult responsibilities now. After all, this is the first time that some of us have lived away from our parents and have been in charge of our own schedules. Some are in charge of their own finances. We are getting close to that age where we feel like we have to know what we want to do with our lives and there doesn’t seem to be much time anymore to really figure it out. Stepping into the responsibility of adulthood can feel like one of the scariest things. It feels like a whole new world that we have to figure out by ourselves.
I totally know what that feels like. It’s hard to be a senior at my University already, especially when I look like a freshman and am only 20 years old! It was weird to actually go back to in-person classes for the first time and live alone for the first time after the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially when I was now supposed to be a college junior. When you’re a college junior, congratulations, now you should be really thinking about what you want to do AFTER university. I had literally just gotten to university! Literally just graduated from high school!
But the thing is, we need to remind ourselves that none of us are alone in this. Literally, nobody really knows what they are doing and we are all just trying to do the best we can with what we know. Nobody really likes “adulting” either. It’s so frustrating for a lot of us!
So as we’re each figuring out what adulting means for each of us, here are some things that I have learned as I grew up and as I am still growing up:
- You’ve heard it before, over and over again but this really is true: Stay true to yourself. Never pretend to be someone you’re not, especially to hang out with certain people. If you vibe with a group of people, it feels natural and it doesn’t feel like you have to pretend anything. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, it doesn’t take a lot of over-analyzing yourself and second-guessing. It doesn’t feel awkward. It feels right. If it feels right with some people, those are your people. If it feels wrong, then those probably aren’t your people.
- Why are you worried about whether other people like you? Do you even like them?
- You should definitely love yourself. You need to treat yourself like you would your best friend because you should be your own best friend. Again, this is a cliche, I’m sorry, but seriously. You spend your entire life inside your own head, how are you making anything better if you treat yourself terribly? If you’re down on yourself, things feel even worse than they are. There’s no reason not to make things slightly better for yourself by giving yourself some hope and/or positivity.
- You also need to be accountable to yourself. Again, not in a mean way, but give yourself some constructive criticism sometimes. Recognize the ways that you could improve, and start trying to improve. First acknowledge to yourself that you need to work on something, addressing yourself in the same way you’d address a friend. Like, “Hey, I’ve noticed we’ve been doing this too much” or “We haven’t done enough of this” or “I know we made a mistake and we need to figure out how to fix it.” Talk to yourself gently but firmly. Then work on what you need to!
- Don’t compare yourself to others. There are a lot of things that you don’t tell other people, so you have no idea what kinds of crazy things may be happening in other people’s lives right now. Nobody is exactly who they are on the surface, so why are you comparing your whole self to how other people present themselves? You present yourself in the same way they do. There’s nothing to compare. Plus, there will always be someone better than you at something, so it’s useless to keep measuring your achievements against other people’s accomplishments. The bottom line is, it never helps you get where you need to be, so let’s not do it!
- Be nice and polite. Everybody’s going through a hard time.
- Allow others to be imperfect and to mess up. It’s nice when we don’t criticize, make fun of, or berate other people for their mistakes.
- Life is better when we’re laughing!
- You may think you know a lot but do you just know a lot about your major, your interests, your hobbies, etc.? It’s not possible to know everything, and there’s a lot you don’t know. Be humble and be willing to learn.
- Sometimes school smarts don’t mean a lot if you can’t navigate through life well.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to new people. I only met my friends by going up and talking to them, or them going up and talking to me when we didn’t know each other.
- Be grateful for good times while you have them. I had a lot of fun during my first quarter of junior college, and then the next quarter I was SWAMPED with work, and COVID-19 happened. So if you’re living the good life right now, bask in it, you never know when things are going to change. Don’t assume you have all the time in the world.
- Always be there for your friends. That’s what friends are for. Friends aren’t just for the good days because if you’re struggling, you will want a shoulder to cry on and someone to help you through it. You should do that for your friends as well.
- Even if you don’t like the situation, you’re in, make the best of it and look on the positive side of things. Do your best with whatever you have. If you find yourself in a place you do not want to be in, or things do not go the way you want them to, you can still do your best with what you have.
- People may try to take advantage of you. Don’t let them. People should never use your niceness or sweetness to their advantage without actually caring about you.
- Sometimes you do have to break it off with some people. Sometimes that’s what you need to do for yourself.
- Don’t let your life revolve around trying to find someone.
- Being single is fun!
- If you do have a significant other, never ditch your friends for that person. Definitely don’t make ditching your friends for some lover a recurring habit. If your friend does that to you, let them know that isn’t okay.
- Even if you think someone is weird, they’re probably still a great person. Don’t be judgmental.
- Don’t worry about having it all figured out yet. Nobody does. Focus on what you can do at the moment to make your future what you want it to be. Take things one step at a time and ask yourself what you need to do now.
Remember, nobody has it all figured out. We are all just trying our best. And we will all make it through!