I understand that as long as you exist after graduating from college, you can technically consider yourself a post-grad. But, at some point, you must realize that it’s time for you to sew a big “A” on your oversized H&M sweater and admit you’re just a plain old adult.
Soon after I graduated, “post-grad” was a designation I reserved for LinkedIn, profile bios, blog posts and my woeful tweets adorned with the #PostGradProblems hashtag. Maybe you’re still navigating the excitement stage of your new real-person life and the endless opportunities it can offer outside of confines of semesters. You are just soooooo over homework and hope that your parents will pay for you to backpack through Europe so you can “find” yourself.
Well, fast forward a few years: You’re probably a year or two into your first real job (or second) but still have no real idea what you’re doing with your life. You may have moved back home or across the country, but the big life questions still plague the back of your mind no matter how far you travel. You still have fun with your college friends, but you’re less able to relate now that your group of friends doesn’t have frat parties and study groups in common.
Welcome to adulthood! Contrary to popular belief, classifying yourself as an “adult” does not mean that everything has fallen into place — it just means that things are more expensive now. A little bit of your soul dies each time you write checks for rent, student loans and even shampoo. Money brings about a huge reality check (pun intended) if you’re financially independent from your parents, but being an adult is so much heavier than just that.
In college, it may have been cute to have no idea what you’re doing with your life, but as an adult, it’s a whole lot scarier because you feel like you should know at this point.
You start to identify big goals personal goals as an outlet to spark passion, no matter how far outside of your comfort zone they may exist. We crave change, but we also crave the stability to know what we want and what we are working toward. You've started to take responsibility in areas of your life that you can control because unlike your post-grad mindset, you know that in the big picture, you can’t absolutely control much. Thinking about everything you want to accomplish is extremely overwhelming, especially given the socially constructed age society assigns.
Part of adulthood means recognizing that it’s the little life changes that allow you to progress. Building a better you, slowly but surely, helps you grow and feel proactive about your goals. You’re mindful about what you eat, going (or at least considering to go) to the gym, trying to bulk up your savings account and maybe only drinking once or twice a week. The concept of instant gratification should become foreign, as most things you covet require more time and patience
Even though it may be easy to lose yourself in Netflix marathons and you know your ex is always willing to hook up with you, you learn that the only person who can truly make you happy is yourself. Being an adult means knowing that you have to put in a lot of effort to achieve a positive life outlook. The number of likes and “preach!” comments you get on your Instagram photos might make you feel better for now, but that satisfaction is fleeting.
It is difficult to let go of excuses and take accountability for your emotions and actions. As you mature, you learn that talking sh*t about somebody else’s success will never lead to you feel better and that wishing for better things to come is pointless.
While you can vent over Happy Hour, you can’t let yourself incorporate this mindset into adulthood. Harsh, but I know you can take it, you adult, you.
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