Adulthood Is No Joke: How To Make The Transition From Kid To Grownup

by Colleen Woodward

When we’re in middle school (aka, the worst most hormonal years of our lives), we’re constantly wishing we were grown up. Whether it’s dreaming of our senior years of high school, or making it to the wonderful age of 21 when we can booze up and hit the clubs, we all long to be more mature, better looking, wealthier and, of course, independent.

But, what we don’t realize at that terrifying age of 13 is being an actual adult is one of the hardest things to do.

We have to get up early Monday through Friday, pay bills, cook for ourselves (or microwave dinners by ourselves), make doctor’s appointments on our own and we have no one to answer to but ourselves. It’s a very thrilling, but also slightly terrifying time in our lives.

There is no rule book to tell us how to transition from this acne-faced adolescent to a working adult. There is no one to tell us what to do. There is no one to pay our bills. There is no mom in the same house as us to take care of us when we get the flu.

Here we are, all on our own. We have to make our own decisions, including where to live, where to work, who to date and what to eat. It’s what we’ve been craving for the majority of our adolescent lives, but it’s not at all what we expected.

How are we supposed to get through it alone? How are we supposed to function as adults, with no one there to tell us exactly what we’re supposed to do?

Although I’ve only been in this "adult" life for less than a year, I can tell you I’ve learned a thing or two about how this all works. So, if you’re so inclined, take some advice from this 23-year-old "adult" who is figuring it all out along the way.

Your friends will be your saving grace.

Realistically, if you have some cool friends like mine, you’re all going through the same thing. You’re all graduated, getting new big girl or boy jobs and trying to make these grand life decisions that freak you the f*ck out.

The best part? You’re all in it together.

Use your friends. Talk to them, bounce ideas off them or just vent about the craziness of being an adult. That’s what they're there for, and if they can’t offer any solid advice, at least they’re there to support you and listen (or hand you a bottle of wine).

If you don’t make the right decision the first time, don’t give up.

It’s not the end of the world if the first apartment, job, significant other, etc. ends up being total sh*t. Take this as a learning experience.

If your first job was the absolute worst, now you know what you don’t want in your career. You move on. You have your entire life ahead of you. Learn from it, and jump to the next best thing.

Just because you’re an adult, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

So maybe you shouldn’t show up to your alma mater’s latest keg party, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up parties all together.

It’s called "happy hour" for a reason; embrace it. You have your own designated couple of hours when you can drink your face off on what would have been "Thirsty Thursday," and you don’t have to pay as much.

Maybe you’re technically an "adult," but that doesn’t mean you have to throw all fun out of the window.

Take risks.

Just because you have entered this new world of responsibility does not mean you should just settle for a boring life.

Take risks. Go on new adventures. See the world in every way possible.

If you’re going through your life only concerned with getting to that 9-to-5 job, stop it. Go to work, and then go out and see something new. Use your weekends for new and exciting possibilities. Never stop living.

Make time for yourself.

As a new adult, you're dealing with the pressures of a job, bills, possibly a new city, friends, roommates and significant others. But, in the midst of all of the craziness, don’t forget to really and truly take time for yourself.

Go on solo adventures, take really long naps, binge-watch Netflix, find your own favorite restaurant (and then share it with a friend), discover your favorite walking route, etc. You are evolving into an entirely new person.

So, take time to figure out that "new you." Explore your mind, ideas and passions.

Graduating from college is a really exciting time. You’re so ready to get out there in the "real world" and experience the life of the new "adult" you.

No one stops to tell you these drastic life epiphanies will occur, friendships will change, relationships in general will change and you will shift into a new "you," per se. But do not lose faith in yourself.

This new independence you have gained is invigorating, and although it comes with paying bills, getting apartments and working 9 to 5, it also comes with really amazing opportunities, successes and revelations about yourself.

Remember to enjoy this time, as scary as it may be. No matter what they say, it is still acceptable to participate in "Thirsty Thursday." You can have all the fun you want and life does not end by any means just because you have more responsibilities.