Every diploma, every internship, every accolade was meant to lead up to the pinnacle moment where I became the adult I had been training to become. Except that did not happen. Days shy of 23, a year out of college, still an intern and living in my aunt’s attic on a pull-out couch I am not the picture perfect idea of freedom and success that I imagined. Rather, this stage of my life feels more like an end of episode SNL sketch with a professional athlete: uncomfortable, way too long and without a clear punchline.
The most frequent advice I had received about the college to adult metamorphosis was that no one knows what they are doing and everyone is faking it until they were making it. In essence: it just sort of happens. Thus, I put on my big girl sweatpants and geared up ready to sprout some wings. Just like Hilary Duff in 2003, I thought “Why Not?” might as well find my “Inner Strength,” because everything has to be “So Yesterday.”
Regardless of my preconceived perception, there was no cosmic shift, no puzzle pieces falling into place and definitely no evolution to report. My preparation for a smooth sail down the path I created turned quickly into a stumbling, daunting rock trail and I did not pack my helmet and elbow pads.
Seeing many of peers reveling in adulthood with posts about travel, engagements, new homes and more importantly puppies–it is easy to get discouraged that my current version of adulting is defective. I turned to my closest friends and asked them if they felt like adults. The responses ranging from many flat ‘no’s, multiple ‘not even kind of’s and one lonely ‘kinda.’ The best response said by my dear friend Annie: “No and I’m a mom.”
If the majority of the people I surround myself with don’t feel like adults then why are we all trying to pretend like we are?
I can without a doubt say that in the span from college to now, I have pushed the spectrum of emotions on both ends; I have felt total elation and I have had days where I could not get out of bed. I thought that I could blame outside variables into the pressures and stress I am feeling, but they simply do not exist.
The only person trying to force this mold of expectation was me. I have been pedaling through this last year trying to figure out how to get to the top of the mountain looking for all of the answers without acknowledging that maybe frigid peaks are not my thing–I do not have adequate snow gear.
What I have realized is there is no hidden key that’s going to unlock the final boss standing between me and my dream job, my dream city or sleeps filled without anxiety dreams.
I don’t have any of the answers in my own life, I don’t know where to find them, and I definitely don’t even know where to start looking, but maybe that is OK. This adulthood thing never seemed like a suitable fit for me as a child, and maybe it never will. Maybe the best way for me to figure out my adult version of life is to take it as it comes.
Two of my favorite phrases from my mother are “everyone goes at their own speed” and “everyone’s got their own shit.” Ain’t that the damn truth. Although it seems like there are certain milestones in place to be adulting correctly, know that everyone goes at their own damn speed and has their own shit to deal with. And maybe that is just fine.
For those who with similar scrapes and bruises, find solace in knowing that you are not alone. We can ride this confusing life together. Bring your helmet though, we are going to need it.
Be kind. Be you. Slay.